Paula Abdul courtesy Fox Paula Abdul courtesy Fox

What if William Hung played the harpsichord? When American Idol debuts its seventh season, a new element will be added: "We're going to let the contestants play instruments if they can," executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told TV Guide at the Nov. 8 Discovery Awards.

The hit Fox series will also feature "mentors" less often. "We realized that we took our eye off the ball and didn't concentrate on the true talent on the show, and that's the [wannabes]," says Lythgoe. As such, this season "we've got [mentors] just every other week."

Idol judge Paula Abdul is enthusiastic about what's ahead. "It's going to be one of the best seasons we've ever had, no joke. We have incredible talent, great backstories, unique voices, adorable, good-looking kids.... You're going to be pleasantly surprised. And you're going to be laughing your butt off at some of the rarities. I will say this - someone is probably going to be bigger than William Hung." - Reporting by Carita Rizzo