The producers of American Idol say the new season includes changes to freshen up the show, including more modern song choices for contestants.
Executive producer Per Blankens said after tending to favour golden oldies, the show's song list will add more current tunes that the young contestants can relate to.
Fellow executive producer Trish Kinane said former judge Randy Jackson's new role would include leading a workshop that helps contestants deal with vocal and other challenges.
The talent contest also will introduce a "rush week" that precedes the Hollywood week auditions.
But Kinane told the Television Critics Association the series was still essentially American Idol.
Fox's programme enters its 13th season tomorrow with declining ratings and competition in the talent genre from NBC's The Voice.