American Idol 13

American Idol will pre-tape Wednesday night's performance show tomorrow, rather than have all 13 finalists sing live. In every season until now, the show has always gone live after selecting the final group. But this year, that group — the Top 13 — has become a little unwieldy.

According to sources close to the show, the pre-taping strategy is being put into play this week — and possibly next week, too — so that producers can be sure to fit all the performances and critiques into a two-hour slot. American Idol has had to accommodate 13 singers only once before, in Season 8. 

The producers are also hoping to iron out some kinks in the sound levels, after some viewers complained that the band sometimes drowns out the vocalists. The show's new musical director, Ray Chew, says he's well aware of the problem. "What happens, especially during a live show, is that a lot of the contestants don't have a lot of experience when it comes to mike technique," he says. "And so they will change the level themselves. But we will make sure that we pay attention to that, because we want to make sure that America can hear them. I'm gonna go in and make sure they turn those vocals up."

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