It’s Disney press day at the Television Critics Association tour, and American Idol, celebrating the show’s 20th anniversary, presented and answered questions from the assembled reporters.
The biggest news to come out of session, which executive producer Megan Michaels Wolflick, host Ryan Seacrest and judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry attended, is the plan to employ several alums as mentors. Late December, Bobby Bones announced that after 4 seasons, he would not be returning to the show to advise the contestants.
“We will be leaning into our amazing American Idol universe alum to help our current Idols along the way”
“There’s not anyone to replace Bobby per se, but this year we will be leaning into our amazing American Idol universe alum to help our current Idols along the way in different stages of the competition,” Wolflick said. “Lots of those familiar faces America has grown to love will be seen throughout the season and we’re really excited to give back.”
Ryan added, “In terms of the contestants, I want to see everyone of them come back, way back from the beginning. I remember a moment with Clay and Ruben, I want to see Carrie again, I love seeing Jennifer Hudson. I can remember standing next to them looking at their faces and reactions in moment s of success and challenge.”
New twist: The Platinum Ticket. Plus, more youngins
The show went to Nashville, Austin and LA and gave away three special platinum tickets to the best contestants in each city. Katy explained: “This ticket gives them the ability to go to Hollywood Week, which we’ve already filmed and was so rigorous and survival of the fittest, and they get to basically observe from the box seats at the theater — one day, they get to rest their voice, strategize, check out the competition and select who they want to duet with.”
Also, the average age of Idol contestants this year is 20, according to Wolflick.
A new video features favorite alums and more hopefuls, plus a MINOR SPOILER
ABC dropped a sizzle reel for reporters. It celebrates alums such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Gabby Barrett, and Jennifer Hudson.
Plus, there are more glimpses from season 20 contestants. There’s tons of crying, including from Lionel and Katy.
Contestants: Sam Barber (Plaid shirt), Mark Ian Osbourne (“You guys know this is nerve wracking”), Cameron Whitcomb (High-fives Ryan), Danielle Clavell (Lionel dancing), Hazi (crying guy), (bullied vest guy ???), Tyler N. Allen dedicates his audition to his nephew who just passed away. He performs the song that he used to sing to rock him to sleep, Mike Parker, Dan Marshall Rose O’Neal, ?, (Bucket hat girl at piano ?), Joedi Silvers (Cowboy hat), Emily Faith (Blonde guitar girl), Katie O (Girl in red), Tristen Grisset (Holding golden ticket), (compiled by Blake Busch)
Jay Copeland sings Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed and Delivered” and gets a Platinum Ticket! Cadence Baker (With Dad holding golden ticket).
American Idol hopes to have a studio audience for live shows, amid COVID concerns
While the show managed to travel to Austin and Nashville, as well as holding judges auditions in Los Angeles, amid COVID-19 restrictions this year, the show is hoping to have a studio audience for the live shows. Idol already taped a showcase round in front of a studio audience.
“Last year, we were able to have a safe, minimal, masked audience, whereas before we were Idol at home. It is of course our goal to have the fans back in the studio because that’s what makes the atmosphere,” said Wolflick. “Having had this be our third year in the pandemic, we are ready to pivot on a dime at a moment’s notice, ready to be innovative to make this show move forward in 2022. It is our aspiration at this moment to going back to as many fans as possible in that studio, being completely safe with LA County.”
American Idol season 20 premieres on ABC on Sunday February 27.