American Idol 2020 Rules & Format Changes: Hollywood Week’s Twists

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ABC/Eric McCandless

ABC’s singing competition reality show American Idol is switching up the Hollywood Week after 18 seasons on the air. This season, the rounds will include a genre challenge, duets and a solo round.

As previously reported by PeopleIdol judge Katy Perry said in a clip that “everything” was changing when it came to Hollywood Week. “This business throws you curve balls,” Perry said.

“You can give up backstage, you can give up back home, you can give up in your mind, wherever you want to give up,” judge Lionel Richie said to a contestant in the clip. “But you never give up on stage.”

What Is the Hollywood Week 2020 Format?

The first change for Hollywood week will be seen during the first episode of the group. In the first round, which airs on March 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, contestants participate in the Genre Challenge. The challenge will allow each contestant to choose a genre they identify with, and then they’ll choose a song to perform within that genre.

For the second round, which will be Episode 7 of the season and air on Sunday, March 22, contestants will compete in duets. In previous years, this was a group challenge. For the duets, the contestants will pair up with whoever they want, decide on whichever song they’d like to perform, and then they’ll arrange it how they see fit before performing in front of the judges.

The duet round is one where each contestant can use a different strategy to try to get ahead. They could choose to perform with someone who they see as a threat, or someone they think is a lot better than them in order to try to match that person’s level and stand out that way. On the other hand, they could choose to perform with someone they think may not be as talented as they are in order to try to look better in the eyes of the judges.

For the third, and final, round of Hollywood Week, contestants will perform solo with the backing of a band for the first time this season. It’s a time for them to really show off everything they can do along with all their star power.

The Schedule for the Remainder of the Season is Uncertain

Because of concerns with COVID-19 (coronavirus), many shows are postponing production in order to stop the spread of the virus. While it has yet to be announced, it is likely that American Idol may have to postpone the start of their live shows in order to abide by new government regulations.

All of the episodes that have aired so far along with the three episodes of Hollywood Week and the following showcase rounds were pre-taped with filming wrapping up in January.

Right now, it’s likely the show would be able to air through early April with no interruptions; however, at that point, the Finals Live Coast to Coast episodes were scheduled to begin. Those episodes are filmed in front of a live audience in West Hollywood, California and then broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Numerous shows airing on ABC have already shut down production, as Hollywood is taking the threat of the spreading virus very seriously. Grey’s Anatomy and The Bachelorette have both already delayed production.

READ NEXT: ‘American Idol’ Cast Spoilers 2020: Top 40 Contestants for Season 18

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