'American Idol' Will Start Airing Remote Episodes in Late April

Kayla Keegan

From Good Housekeeping

Update, April 17, 10:18 a.m. ET:

According to Entertainment Tonight, American Idol will begin airing remote episodes starting Sunday, April 26. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the remaining top 20 contestants will perform remotely from their homes. Katy Perry and Lionel Richie will judge the show virtually from California, while Luke Bryan and Bobby Bones will call in from Nashville. Host Ryan Seacrest will also be hosting the series from his home in California.

Original, April 5, 7:30 p.m. ET:

On the March 29 episode of American Idol, fans watched as judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie chose some of the artists for this year's top 20. But when fans flipped to ABC one night later, they were shocked to discover that there was no new episode of Idol airing.

Of course, there is an important reason why the American Idol schedule has shifted. Like many other TV shows, production for American Idol was halted in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. By that time, the show had already filmed enough episodes to get through the rest of the month. But in order to conserve pre-taped episodes, ABC decided to only air new ones on Sunday nights instead of Sundays and Mondays — this explains why the rest of the top 20 finalists are being announced on Sunday, April 5.

To be clear, for the foreseeable future, there will be no new episodes airing on Monday evenings. Below is the most up-to-date American Idol schedule (though, this subject to change):

  • April 5 at 8 p.m. ET: The top 20 finalists will be officially revealed as the Hawaii showcase comes to a close.
  • April 12 and April 19 at 8 p.m. ET: ABC is buying time by airing American Idol: This Is Me two Sundays in a row. The new episodes will stitch together previously unaired footage of the top 20 contestants and dive deeper into the singers' backstories.

After April 19, the network will likely assess the COVID-19 situation and if production can continue for the remainder of the season. Host Ryan Seacrest recently offered fans a glimmer of hope when he told TMZ that Idol is working behind the scenes to try to figure out how to still have live shows and keep everyone safe.

"We do want to deliver all of this season. We want to put on these performance episodes, we want to put on the episodes that allow America to vote for their favorites to get to an American Idol winner this season," Ryan told the gossip site. "How are we going to do that? We haven't fully decided, we're looking at all the different options."

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