'American Idol': The judges and host tell us what to expect in season 12

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Everything is new this season on "American Idol." New judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban have definitely shaken up the show. There will be some new twists as the season begins. And of course season 12 will feature a whole new batch of young and ambitious singers trying to make their mark.

What can we expect? Find out directly from the judges and from host Ryan Seacrest here.


Ryan Seacrest is confident in his choice for a winner.

"Who's going to win? It's going to be a guy or girl this season," Seacrest quipped when reporters asked the big question.


Don't expect too many Mariah Carey songs.

With a long-time hit singer like Mariah Carey, you would expect that more than one contestant would audition with her music. And you would be right -- kind of. It turns out that only a few singers tried to emulate Carey directly.

"Different songs, about maybe four. I think," Carey responded when asked how many of her own songs she heard. "It's funny. One of them used a song from my first album that was like, very obscure, that took me totally by surprise."


The judges argue, but we won't see a lot of full-on feuding.

The two "American Idol" veterans, Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson, quick to insist that all was well at the judges' table.

"Every panel that's got different personalities is a different panel," Seacrest explained. "This one, each one of those judges individually has a very specific point of view and a very specific opinion. And often they'll argue for the contestants they believe in. Often they don't agree. They have to come to a consensus at some point."

Jackson saw things the same way: "That's the whole thing. You've got four distinctly different individuals, and we're all passionate about music and talent and singing. So we often disagree, but it's kind of funny that we laugh at it. We look at it... Just a minute ago, we looked at it and we go, 'Of course we'd all disagree! Why would we ever agree?'"


A few things will change in season 12 of "Idol."

Someone like Ryan Seacrest is too savvy to give away much on what surprises are in store for "American Idol" viewers this season.

"We will change it up a little bit," he admitted. "There will be some format tweaks." Seacrest cited Hollywood Week as an example: This season, the guys and the girls will go through their weeks separately. "The guys didn't know," Seacrest said. "So some of the guys are kind of bummed. 'Cause they're just hanging with each other."


"American Idol" Season 12 premieres on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8pm on FOX.

Photo/Video credit: FOX