Judges will skip early auditions and only appear at callbacks sometime later this summer

American Idol 9‘s auditions begin a week from Friday, more than a month earlier than usual, but they won’t be attended by the show’s judges–two of whom don’t even know if they’ll be back next season.

The judges always skip the first few days of auditions, so producers can narrow tens of thousands of people down to the talented and delusional few who will parade in front of the panel over two days, but this year they won’t even show up until separate callbacks later in the summer. It’s not yet clear whether those callbacks will be in the same cities, but I’d assume so.

Citing a Fox publicist, The St. Petersburg Times’ Eric Deggans reports that “those who make the cut at the upcoming auditions will face another round of producers and then the judges sometime later this summer.” He notes that as a result, “the show won’t have to act so soon on whether to keep Abdul, whose contract with the show reportedly ends this year. But they won’t want to film the judges until some decision is reached.”

The same holds true for Kara DioGuardi, whose fate is also in the air. She joined the show on a one-season contract, which can of course be renewed, and Paula Abdul’s expired at the end of this season.

American Idol auditions scheduled July 9 at Amway Arena in Orlando [St. Petersburg Times]

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