How ‘American Idol’s Live Show Will Broadcast From Across the Country

American Idol cast
ABC/Eliza Morse

American Idol is finally returning with a brand new episode on Sunday, April 26 on ABC. The two-hour installment will feature performances from the Top 20, all broadcast from their homes, as well as those of the judges and host Ryan Seacrest.

Contestants will have three episodes along with the finale to impress judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan as they film remotely from their homes. “These kids have given up a lot to do these auditions and Hollywood Week, it’s only fair to them to keep it going and crown the next American Idol,” showrunner, Trish Kinane told Deadline. “You also don’t have to win to have a successful career; Jennifer Hudson came seventh.”

She also revealed that a team of 45 people began putting together a plan to film the contestants from their homes, which included sending them lighting equipment, iPhones, and wardrobe to put together performances. The show’s band have also been recording tracks remotely with backup singers adding their parts into the mix. Meanwhile, singers are checking internet connections and deciding on filming spots depending on where they’re located.

With the competition narrowed down to only four remaining episodes, it only makes the competition fiercer. According to Variety, after this coming Sunday’s episode the Top 20 will be narrowed down to a Top 10.

American Idol 2020

(Credit: ABC/Gavin Bond)

Contestants will prerecord their performances which will be edited for broadcast in order to account for timing. And Seacrest has even resurfaced his old American Idol desk from its Fox days to be used during taping sessions. “We’ve been trying to give them some of the Idol experience, albeit remotely,” Kinane told Variety.

While the show must go on, don’t expect anything but the best possible quality as Kinane also said, “we’re not doing it all via Zoom or Skype. Basically we’re doing it in a sort of much higher quality way.”

Apart from the show’s 20 contestants, Seacrest, mentor Bobby Bones, the judges and Idol‘s band will all be broadcasting from separate locations, all with the help of an engineering control room in Kansas City that allows for communication between the singers and the celeb judging panel. See how it all comes together this Sunday on ABC.

American Idol, Returns Sunday, April 26, 8/7c, ABC