Credit: © Copyright 2013 / FOX

Update (February 10, 2014):

Turns out there won’t be a Vegas Week this year! American Idol is changing things up even more by introducing a new round known as Rush Week. Read all about it and prepare for some brutal eliminations.

Original story (January 13, 2014):

Getting an American Idol Golden Ticket is a great first step on the journey to be the next big thing, but man, is it a loooooong journey. Idol’s producers don’t fool around, putting contestants through the wringer before they even make it to the Live Shows. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon, either.

Season 13 premiered on Fox on Wednesday, January 15, followed by three weeks of auditions. We saw the best and the worst from this year’s tour of the U.S. including the scenic pit stops of Salt Lake City, Detroit, and Austin. After six nights of audition footage, we eventually reached the end of the road on Thursday, January 30, in the one-hour episode. 

Fox has still yet to release the specifics on where this crazy trip called Season 13 goes then, but we’re guessing at least a week or two of Hollywood magic before the surviving contestants roll the dice in Sin City. Our estimates on dates for that have us in Hollywood for Wednesday, February 5, and Thursday, February 6, followed by at least one week in Vegas for Wednesday, February 12, and Thursday, February 13.

As you may remember from seasons past, Vegas Week can be one of the most brutal the Idol stars ever face. With the competition getting tougher each week, the narrowed down pool must fight all the harder to claim one of the coveted 24 to 36 spots in the Semis.

Of course, for Season 12 the producers decided to throw in another curve ball by making Vegas into a Sudden Death round. The judges picked their top five girls and guys each night for four nights until they had their Top 20. No word yet on if that’ll be the case this year but we’ll keep you posted as we hear more.

Are you excited for Vegas Week or just want the Live Shows to start already? Tell us in the comments below. Ryan Seacrest, that means you!

Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!