With the 21st season of “American Idol” set to premiere on February 19, 2023, the cast and crew have begun to provide glimpses of what to expect, including announcing the first two celebrity mentors of the season. According to the show’s Instagram account, pop singer-songwriter Noah Cyrus, who was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2021, and R&B singer Allen Stone, who first served as an “Idol” mentor six years ago, just finished filming with the Top 24 contestants in Hawaii.
All three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie — and host Ryan Seacrest were also at Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa for the contestants’ performances in front of a live audience, and they’ve shared peeks inside the experience with fans on social media. However, not everyone was happy about their presence, as multiple resort guests have issued complaints.
Allen Stone & Noah Cyrus Advise Season 21’s Top 24
On February 16, the show’s Instagram account posted photos of Stone and Cyrus posing with Minnie Mouse at the Disney resort to announce their roles as the first mentors of the season.
To get to Hawaii, contestants must make it through virtual auditions with producers, then in-person auditions in front of the celebrity judges, the infamous and intense Hollywood Week and, finally, the Showstopper Round during which they perform with the show’s band for the judges.
Once in Hawaii, the top 24 performs live for an audience and while the judges give feedback, it’s the first time during the season that viewers will choose who gets to move forward to the live shows back in Los Angeles.
According to On Camera Audiences, the show filmed its Top 24 contestants performing in Hawaii on February 12 and 13. Audience members, ages 12 and up, were asked to attend from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each evening. In past seasons, an outdoor stage has been set up for that round of the competition, with celebrity mentors advising the contestants on their song choices.
Cyrus, whose sister is fellow music star Miley Cyrus, hinted at her “Idol” role on February 13 in a series of nighttime photos she shared on Instagram, where she has 6.2 million followers. Sporting bleached eyebrows, tagged the Disney Aulani resort in the photos of her posing on shoreline rocks and slurping a spaghetti noodle.
She captioned the photo, “Your idol mentoress.”
‘American Idol’ Cast Loved Their Hawaiian Views — But Some Resort Guests Were Annoyed
Seacrest, who announced this week that he is leaving his syndicated TV morning show, “Live with Kelly and Ryan, soaked up the sun while fulfilling his hosting duties in Hawaii. On Super Bowl Sunday, he posted photos and a video from his hotel balcony of the feast prepared for the big game.
But during a February 17 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” alongside Richie, Perry said they had to be on the “Idol” set during part of the game and also missed Rihanna’s halftime show, but the cast watched a recording of it later that night.
Perry and Bryan shared a joint Instagram video on February 13, using the tropical setting as a background for their announcement about launching ticket sales for their own upcoming concerts in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Richie shared several videos in his Instagram Stories of the ocean view from his hotel room.
Not everyone is happy about “American Idol” taping in Hawaii, though. When the show posted a photo of the cast on the shore, multiple guests staying at Disney’s Aulani resort shared their complaints about how the production negatively impacted their vacations.
One guest wrote, “The production team has taken over the resort. The lack of care to the consumer is typical corporate greed. We won’t be returning.”
Another commented, “We had banging drums until 10pm while they were trying to get a luau shot. It was our first night. We had just come off 14 hours of travel and it was 2am where are from.”
Yet another guest warned incoming visitors by writing, “If anyone is coming this weekend for a Valentine Getaway weekend know that part of the beach is closed off, large stage setup on the lagoon, and the ‘adult’ section of the lanai is closed off for production, along with significant noise disruptions, and plenty of production crew milling around asking you to move while filming.”
The new season kicks off on Sunday, February 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.