02/06/2014 01:33 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2014

'American Idol' Twist: On To Hollywood Or Straight Back Home

There was a time when the golden ticket meant Hollywood on "American Idol." It was a guarantee that contestants would get to at least start Hollywood Week in hopes of making it to the live shows. Well, this season, "Idol" added a new twist. Before contestants could get to Hollywood, many of them needed to sing one more time.

They were gathered in an airplane hangar where they got their first glimpse at the competition. "This is a huge opportunity for you. If you screw this up, it’s over. Many of you will go home today," Harry Connick, Jr. told them. "It could be you. Y’all have to bring your A-game. You don’t have another chance. It can’t be mediocre. It has to be great.”

To make them sweat even more, producers split them onto different buses, and they wouldn't find out their destination until they got there. They were either headed to the hotel in Hollywood, or straight to the airport. As a pressure test, this was certainly a solid opening move. By the end of this first episode, the 212 contestants who had received golden tickets were already trimmed down to 104.

"American Idol" continues on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.

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