American Idol Season 13 has been the season of change and boy, did this show need it. With a new mix of judges that includes resident stickler but undeniable charmer Harry Connick, Jr., the producers managed to do what many thought impossible: breathe new life into this long-running series.

While we’re not sure how we feel about the “Hollywood Or Home” twist in which hopefuls were forced to sing for their lives in an airport hanger, more changes are ahead and we can only hope they are less brutal on these aspiring singers! Word is the next major change is the end of the lengthy Las Vegas Semifinals with the show instead featuring a more condensed version of the last round of major cuts called “Rush Week.”

Credit: 2013 FOX

For those out there involved in the Greek community during college, you might remember the trials and tribulations of rush week, and Idol’s version sounds nearly as intense. Executive producer Trish Kinane told TVLine, “We condensed the middle rounds into one week and we’re calling it Rush Week,” adding that, despite the changes, “It’s absolutely still American Idol.”

You might remember that Season 12 also featured changes during this week, calling it the “Sudden Death” round. While last year the pool was narrowed down to 20 hopefuls, this year we’re hearing the Top 13 will be revealed at the end of the week on Thursday, February 20, during the first Live Results show. That chops numbers down by more than half since we’ll start Rush with 30, and sure sounds like America gets to start voting next week!

Here’s the current scheduling breakdown for the upcoming round of shows after Hollywood Week ends on Thursday, February 13:

Tuesday, February 18 (8 to 10 p.m.) — The 15 female contestants 

Wednesday, February 19 (8 to 10 p.m.) — The 15 male contestants 

Thursday, February 20 (8 to 9 p.m.) — The Top 13 revealed in first Live Results show

These 13 singers will have their work cut out for them but will also be privy to some exciting changes in the show’s format. Trish says they have “expanded the song list” and executive producer Per Blankens said the show is going to “work differently with the themes.”

“We have a new approach ... where we try to get songs they can really relate to and pick from,” he explained.

While we love the idea of broader themes (hallelujah!) and a more diverse song list, we’re not quite sure we’re on board with these quick cuts during Rush Week. We remember seeing a lot of really talented people go home during last year’s Sudden Death round, and we’d hate to see that happen to even more promising folks this year.

What do you think of Rush Week idea? Sound off in the comments!

SourcesTVLineTV Guide