American Idol returns with all-new episodes on Sunday night and Monday night, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, new episodes featuring the contestants from Season 18, host Ryan Seacrest and all-star judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan will soon come to an abrupt end.
On Thursday, March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the entire state, which has a population of nearly 40 million people, would promptly be under a strict “Safer at Home” order to flatten the curve of the exponentially rising number of patients being infected COVID-19.
As of March 22, in the state of California alone, according to The Los Angeles Times, there were 1,536 confirmed cases of coronavirus and a death toll of 28. Unfortunately, due to the lack of available testing, those numbers are likely much higher in actuality.
While the finalist contestants on America Idol are from all over the country, the live audience episodes of Idol are taped at CBS Television City, which is located in West Hollywood, California. The same day, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he was tightening the city’s precautionary methods amid coronavirus, shutting down all non-essential businesses, which meant the competition reality series had no choice but to close down production.
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.
The threat of COVID-19 is being taken very seriously by Hollywood, and well before the “Safe at Home’ order was enforced, numerous scripted and reality series had already halted production. ABC series such as Grey’s Anatomy and the network’s reality show juggernaut, The Bachelorette, have postponed filming, as did their late-night series, Jimmy Kimmel Live!. ABC’s soap opera General Hospital shut down on March 16.
Viewers Can Still Expect New Episodes Of ‘American Idol’ Until April 12
On the COVID-19 front, there is both good news and bad news for American Idol staff, contestants, and at-home viewers. The good news is that there are still plenty of new episodes for Idol to air since the auditions and semi-finals rounds were all pre-taped in Fall 2019.
The Hollywood Week episodes, which air on Sunday, March 22, and Monday, March 23, will be followed next week with Semi-Finals round of the competition on Sunday, March 29, and continues through April 6. During this time the show’s contestants widdle down from the Top 20 to the Top 10.
It’s the week after that, beginning on Sunday, April 12, during which the Finals Live Coast to Coast episodes were scheduled to kick off. What’s really exciting about these live two-hour episodes is ABC airs them live on the East Coast at 8 p.m. ET and West Coast at 5 p.m. PT. What’s troublesome about these episodes, is that they are taped in front of a live audience in Hollywood, in a packed theatre, and they will be postponed until the nation is back on its feet.