According to the show's executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, the competition will be whittled down to the top 12 contestants – and skip having the top 24.
"I didn't think [the top 24] were very good," Lythgoe tells TV Guide of previous seasons. "I was bored with them by the time they got there."
He's also creating more difficult challenges for the contestants, including having them make music videos, promote themselves, and work on awards show-style performances.
The upcoming season with all of its new requirements will coincide with the level of seriousness that comes along with the new judges.
"They both listen intently and don't make glib remarks," Lythgoe says of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. "They give honest critiques."
As for the last original member of the A.I. pack, Randy Jackson has apparently taken on a strong Simon Cowell-esque sense of command.
"Randy is pulling his weight," Lythgoe says. "He really has stepped up. He's essentially come out of himself. He's enjoying being in that position."