‘American Idol’ Makes History by Proceeding With At-Home Performances
If you're like the rest of the nation, you've likely been getting used to new social norms such as Zoom meetings to grab a chat with your buddies or family members. No need to worry, everyone's favorite talent reality show, American Idol, is moving right along with the times, adopting COVID-19 pandemic best practices by continuing its current season in a perfectly quarantine-solid way, filming its top 20 contestants at their own homes and beaming those performances into all our own respective living rooms on Sunday (Apr. 26).
"Using ground-breaking technology, tonight we make Idol history," intoned host Ryan Seacrest. "This is our show like you've never seen it before. One thing stays the same, you vote, you decide.
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"We've had to shift the way we made our show," he added. "Idol has the history of making the most of technology. We were determined to make this work, not only for you, but for the top 20."
Seacrest's words were filled with gravity, but when he zoomed in on the judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie (all, of course, from the comfort of their own homes), things became quickly lighter.
Perry showed up on camera dressed fetchingly in a hand sanitizer costume, and described that going through her first pregnancy in a pandemic is interesting to say the least.
Meanwhile, Bryan told the audience, "My family is safe and healthy. I'm really excited for these kids. They're so talented and they deserve to get their career. I'm so thankful for everybody at Idol that we can still pull this show off."
Richie perhaps put things the best by saying, "This is probably the most excited I've been in a very long time because I can actually say I have never done this before in my entire career."
From there, the show clipped along at a rapid rate showing off the Top 20 performing from their own homes, garages and yards. If anyone had any doubts that performing from home would be problematic, the overall effect was cheerful and uplifting, even spurring Perry to remark at one point that the format "reminded me of what it was like to be at home and practicing in front of the mirror with a hair brush."
Performances ranged from stark apartment settings to lushly pretty vistas (Lauren Smith's Canadian lakeside setting being particularly lovely). The by-now-familiar stacked Zoom windows showing background singers and instrumental players helped things along.
If you enjoyed watching the contestants this week, mentor Bobby Bones told Seacrest things will continue to progress and hopefully entice viewers even more in this new format. "Next week they'll be home, and the theme is songs that remind them of home," he explained. "I'll be working on how to play without the audience, how to take the judges' critiques from this.
"Just when you think, we can learn more of them, now we get to see their backyard or house or room. It's fascinating," Bones smiled.
If you agree, continue to tune into American Idol every Sunday evening at 8PM ET while they work through their new and exciting format.
See the Top 20 Finalists on American Idol, Season 18:
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