When American Idol announced that judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and host Ryan Seacrest would be returning to the show, there was no word on the fate of mentor Bobby Bones. As it turned out, the country radio personality’s schedule stuck him in limbo. Filming for his Nat Geo series Breaking Bobby Bones had been held up by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether he returned to Idol or not was dependent on when the series would finish shooting.
Finally, filming the show is underway. Bobby recently told Popculture.com that he SHOULD be able to join the show as mentor, but probably not for the entire season.
The new series, which features Bobby traveling the country taking on the lives of people who have faced big obstacles, should debut “early next year.” He says, as long as the crew is able to continue safely shooting.
Bobby hopes to join American Idol at Hollywood Week
“Hopefully, COVID doesn’t slow us down; I can finish and, when it’s over, get over to American Idol. Because I have to miss the first half of the season, but my goal is to get back by Hollywood Week. Hopefully, ’cause Disney has both shows, not only mine on Nat Geo, but American Idol, they’re going to let me bounce around. So hopefully, I’ll get over to American Idol, and be able to do that.”
American Idol producers don’t have plans to replace Bobby in the meantime. When he’s ready to rejoin the show, the mentor spot will be open. The Dancing With the Stars winner admits it will be “a bit weird” without the ability to travel around the country for in-person auditions. Actually, Bobby only mentored the Top 24 round his first season in 2018. In 2019, Bobby joined the series as a full time mentor.
American Idol plans to have artists performing in person
“My role was out there with people getting them ready to go perform, and so, honestly, they probably didn’t need me that much anyway, because of the new rules,” he told PopCulture. “I think next year, we’ll probably be back to normal, so when Hollywood Week happens, right now, we’re planning on having folks back performing in person. So if that happens, that’d be great.”
Hollywood Week usually happens in December, but with shooting schedules delayed, the round probably won’t start until early next year. However, who even knows when things will get back to normal. I wouldn’t make any bets on when Covid-19 restrictions on filming will be completely lifted.
With the entire 2021 midseason shifted, American Idol will likely premiere later in the spring. For instance, Awards season has moved up a month. The Golden Globes, which usually air in January are now scheduled for the end of February. The Academy Awards, which ABC has used as a launching pad for Idol, won’t air until April.