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'American Idol' full episodes are online for first time -- exclusive

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Priscilla Barker

Fox’s American Idol is embracing the digital age.

For the first time in the show’s history, full episodes of the hit singing competition will be available online the day after they air. The show’s distribution shift begins today, with Wednesday night’s 14th season premiere now available.

Idol episodes will be on Americanidol.com, FOX Now, and Hulu Plus services, along with VOD providers like DirecTV, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable. Previously, only American Idol clips were available online the next day.

Idol, which airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. this season, had its 14th return last night with returning judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr., along with host Ryan Seacrest. One talent change this round is that mentor (and longtime Idol judge) Randy Jackson has been replaced by Big Machine label president Scott Borchetta

The premiere was an hour rather than the usual two — part of Fox’s plan to slim down the show’s running time this year. By making episodes available online, the network further hopes to give fans more ways to catch up on the show. Next week, expect Idol veteran Adam Lambert to join the proceedings when the talent search shifts to New York City.

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