American Idol is adapting to new social-distancing protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic. The ABC singing competition will return to audiences starting April 26 -- but with contestants performing for America's vote remotely. Production was previously halted on Idol last month.
ABC announced the news on April 14, adding that details surrounding these episodes will be shared at a later date. For now, Katy Perry has shared that she'll be judging the show virtually, from California, with Lionel Richie from Los Angeles, Luke Bryan and Bobby Bones in Nashville, and Ryan Seacrest also hosting from California.
As previously announced, on Sunday, April 19, ABC aired part two of American Idol: This Is Me, which delved deeper into the lives of this season's Top 20 contestants, with unseen footage and performance highlights.
American Idol's Top 20 finalists include the following:
Aliana Jester – Fort Walton Beach, FL
Arthur Gunn – Wichita, KS
Cyniah Elise – Jonesboro, GA
DeWayne Crocker Jr. – Castle Rock, CO
Dillon James – Bakersfield, CA
Faith Becnel – Luling, LA
Francisco Martin – Daly City, CA
Franklin Boone – Hillsborough, NC
Grace Leer – San Ramon, CA
Jonny West – Studio City, CA
Jovin Webb – Baton Rouge, LA
Julia Gargano – Staten Island, NY
Just Sam – Sherman Oaks, CA
Kimmy Gabriela – Lakeland, FL
Lauren Spencer-Smith – Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada
In a Facebook Live earlier this month, Perry addressed the future of Idol amid the pandemic. "What's going on with the show since we're all still in quarantine?" Perry said, reading off a question from one viewer. "Well, I think that we're all gonna have to be very creative."
"I know that we're going to get really creative and you'll just have to be tuning into that creativity that we are probably going to create from our individual homes," she shared, sounding somewhat unsure of how to answer. "We'll see how this goes."
When asked if she planned on performing on the show this season, Perry said, "I hope so! I'd love to."
American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.