Long-Time Cast Member Leaves ‘American Idol’

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Season 20 of ABC’sAmerican Idol” will look a little different than recent seasons, with one long-time cast member leaving the show ahead of the new season.

Bobby Bones, who acted as the in-house mentor for the past nearly half-decade, will not be returning to “American Idol” for the upcoming season, which begins airing in February 2022.

According to a report by Deadline, Bones will end his four-season run on the show ahead of the monumental season.

Bones Had a Work Conflict

There seem to be no burnt bridges between “American Idol” and Bobby Bones. According to Deadline, the reason Bones left the show is because he had a conflict with another show he was filming. Bones made the announcement on his Instagram stories, which have since expired, as they go away after 24 hours.

“Some of you noticed I’m not in the ‘Idol’ promos this season,” Bones shared. “My contract [with] my new network won’t let me do another show right now. Love ‘Idol,’ btw. Was a great four years.”

He was the in-house mentor on the show, meaning he spoke with the contestants in between their performances and gave them advice on what they should look to improve during their performances.

Everything We Know About Season 20

The first promotion for the upcoming season features host Ryan Seacrest and judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry, who will all be returning for the season and searching for the next superstar.

Ahead of season 20, “American Idol” also changed some things behind the scenes, bringing in a new showrunner for the first time in over a decade.

According to Deadline, Trish Kinane is retiring from “American Idol,” and Megan Michaels Wolflick, who has been an executive producer on the series, will be taking over.

The outlet reported that Kinane has been the showrunner on the series since the first season of the show, and Wolflick has been working on the show in different positions since the second season when she come on as an associate producer.

“I am happy to have been instrumental in the continued success of ‘America’s Got Talent’ and to have refreshed the ‘American Idol’ format, shepherding it through its last years on Fox to its new home,” Kinane told Deadline.

The show will air from February until Mid-May if the pattern holds. Auditions have already started for the upcoming season in the form of virtual auditions. The auditions in front of the “American Idol” judges will take place later this year.

In previous seasons of “American Idol,” any contestants who have previously been on the show and finished in the top 10 have not been able to return to try again. In the upcoming season, that’s different.

“You are ineligible to participate in the Program if you competed in any previous season of ‘American Idol’ and placed first in the competition,” the new rules read.

Those rules mean that the only contestants who are ineligible to return are people who have won the competition before.

Follow the Heavy on American Idol Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

“American Idol” returns for season 20 on Sunday, February 27, 2022, on ABC.

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