Philadelphia’s 19-year-old singer-songwriter Louis Knight wasn’t sure at first whether he wanted to audition for American Idol. Now, he’s one of the top 20 contestants, ready to perform from his home and earn the votes needed to make it through to the top 10.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all of the Idol contestants filmed their performances at their homes. For Knight, that means filming in his Philadelphia home with his parents, John and Amanda, brother, Max, sister, Daisy, and dog, Milo. The show shipped the contestants three iPhones along with tripods and other equipment.
“They’ve been sending us so much equipment… We are all creating an entire production, essentially, from our house,” Knight told Inquirer. He said the contestants have been meeting with vocal coaches and audio engineers via Zoom and that he was learning a lot in the process.
Knight Was Worried He Wouldn’t Be Able to Showcase His Songwriting
Knight took a gap year after his 2018 high school graduation during which he recorded an EP and formed a band. Then, according to Knight, American Idol asked him if he’d be interested in auditioning.
“Honestly, at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to,” Knight said. “Because I’ve been working so hard on trying to be a singer-songwriter, and I wasn’t sure … if I’d be able to showcase my songwriting.”
Knight didn’t have to worry about that, though, it turns out: one of his most successful performances on the show so far was his audition, during which he sang an original song titled “Change.” The song was written about his best friend who had died by suicide.
He Said the Experience is a “Roller Coaster”
Now, with everything changing and the show effectively making television history by being the first U.S. competition show to be filmed completely from home, Knight said it’s been a roller coaster.
“This whole experience has been a roller coaster and not what any of us expected, but it’s … incredible to be a part of,” Knight said. “And it’s going to change TV history, filming us all on three iPhones.”
If Knight makes it through to the Top 10 after tonight’s vote, he’ll be part of the next round of live shows.
There were originally supposed to be a total of six live shows for Season 18 of Idol, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the producers of the show to change their plans. Since they didn’t want to wait until they were allowed to get back on set, they needed to figure out another solution, which is what led them to filming remotely.
“One was, do we stop everything down, press pause and then come back later,” said ABC alternative programming chief Rob Mills. “And I think we all agreed (that) to sort of stop and then come back who knows when and say, ‘Hey, remember these people?’ – that would be really unsatisfying.”
The season finale of the show is currently set to air on Sunday, May 17 when host Ryan Seacrest will crown the Season 18 American Idol. Tune in to American Idol as TV history is made on Sunday, April 26 at 8 p.m. on ABC.