"Hollywood Rounds" begin Wednesday, Feb. 6; Top 40 announced on Thursday, Feb. 14
All-new semifinalist rounds in Las Vegas begin Wednesday, Feb. 20, and conclude with special three-night "Idol" event Tuesday, March 5, Wednesday, March 6, and Thursday, March 7, when Top 10 finalists are announced
Hosted by the inimitable Ryan Seacrest, "American Idol" season 12 features a dynamic new judging panel, including Randy Jackson, a Grammy-winning producer whose expertise and beloved persona have been instrumental in discovering "American Idol" talent from the beginning; global superstar and the best-selling female recording artist of all time, Mariah Carey; quadruple-platinum singer, songwriter, rapper and fashion icon Nicki Minaj; and Keith Urban, a four-time Grammy winner who has sold more than 15 million albums. Seacrest and the judges will travel to Charlotte, Chicago, Long Beach, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City and San Antonio to find the next superstar who will join the ranks of "American Idol" alumni Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips.
The incredible journey begins with a two-night event showcasing the nation's best talent from the New York auditions on Wednesday, Jan. 16 (8 p.m.), and the Chicago auditions Thursday, Jan. 17 (8 p.m.), on FOX. Auditions continue for two more weeks on Wednesday, Jan. 23 (8 p.m.), and Thursday, Jan. 24 (8 p.m.); and Wednesday, Jan. 30 (8 p.m.), and Thursday, Jan. 31 (8 p.m.).
The contestants who impress the judges will head to "Hollywood" and be put to the ultimate stage test during the "Hollywood Rounds," airing Wednesday, Feb. 6 (8 p.m.), and Thursday, Feb. 7 (8 p.m.); and Wednesday, Feb. 13 (8 p.m.). At the end of the final "Hollywood Round," on Thursday, Feb. 14 (8 p.m.), only the Top 40 contestants - 20 males and 20 females - will remain.
Semifinalist Rounds - Phase One: Las Vegas
In a new twist, the competition then moves to Las Vegas, where the Top 40 semifinalists will be split into males and females. Starting Wednesday, Feb. 20 (8 p.m.), and continuing Thursday, Feb. 21 (8 p.m.), Wednesday, Feb. 27 (8 p.m.), and Thursday, Feb. 28 (8 p.m.), 10 semifinalists will perform each night - males on Wednesday, females on Thursday - and the judges will be faced with the tough decision of choosing which five will stay each night and which five will be sent home. At the end of the first stage of the semifinals, only 20 contestants will remain.
Semifinalist Rounds - Phase Two: America Votes
It's up to viewers to vote for who will advance to the Top 10 and who will go home, during a special three-night "American Idol" event. In the season's first live show, airing on a special night, Tuesday, March 5 (8 p.m.), the remaining male semifinalists will perform live from Las Vegas for America's vote.
On Wednesday, March 6 (8 p.m.), the remaining female semifinalists will perform live. On Thursday, March 7, at 8 p.m., America's vote and the "American Idol" Top 10 finalists will be revealed in the first elimination show live from Los Angeles.
Finalist Performance Rounds
The following week, the competition heats up when the finalists perform for the first time live on the "American Idol" stage Wednesday, March 13 (8 p.m.). One finalist's journey will end as America's vote is revealed on Thursday, March 14 (8 p.m.).