American Idol returns with an all-new season on Sunday night, and the 2020 cycle not only features a whole new round of auditions, but it also allows viewers to get reacquainted with the show’s all-star judges – Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. All three judges from last year are returning for Season 3 (aka Season 18), as well as Ryan Seacrest, because what would American Idol be without its perennial host.
The season premiere aired on February 16, 2020, on the ABC network, and was moving along as planned, with episodes airing at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday and Monday evenings until early March. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a major shift to the show’s pre-planned schedule.
As reported by Billboard, much of the Idol crew was already working remotely by March 19, and as a precaution, sent all the contestants home to be with their families during these incredibly uncertain times.
After Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he was tightening the city’s precautionary methods amid coronavirus, and shutting down all non-essential businesses, American Idol had no choice but to close down production, as the live episodes were scheduled to be taped at CBS Television City, which is located in the heart of West Hollywood.
With the dwindling number of unseen footage still in the can, the series will not be airing a new episode on Monday, March 30. Even though there was a new episode as usual on Sunday night, the next new episode of American Idol will not air until Sunday, April 5.
Both of the Hawaii “Final Judgement” episodes were pre-taped, and after April 5, the competition reality series is planning to churn out two more new episodes on Sunday evenings. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the reality competition series plans to air two extra pre-taped specials, which buys producers more time to figure out how they will proceed with the live shows amid coronavirus.
Three Standout Constants To Watch For During The ‘American Idol’ Season 18
The popular competition series, which first premiered on FOX in 2002, is known for making viewers laugh, cry, and watch in awe of America’s raw talent. Last season, Laine Hardy was crowned as American Idol‘s champion. And this season, there are already a few contestants who stand out as frontrunners.
One of the contestants hoping to win America’s votes is Samantha aka “Just Sam,” a 20-year-old from Harlem, New York, who fine-tuned her singing skills by performing on New York City’s subway. In fact, the tips she earned while singing was her sole source of income prior to auditioning for American Idol.
While at first, Just Sam breaks down in tears while singing, judge Katy Perry tells her to shake it off. “Remember where you came from, and sing to where you want to go,” Perry says.
Another big name to watch this upcoming season is Francisco Martin, from San Francisco, who brings his guitar to audition. Despite his extreme nervousness, “Francisco from Francisco” as Luke Bryan playfully calls him, wins the judges over with his rendition of “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers.
There’s also Nick Merico, who first auditioned last season but had to drop out due to a family emergency.
Will any of these performers become the next Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson? Viewers will have to watch to find out.