'American Idol' Season 19 Begins Production With New Safety Measures

American Idol
ABC/Eric McCandless

American Idol is kicking off their return to production on Season 19 with new safety measures and guidelines as the fan-favorite competition show leaves remote filming behind.

Season 18 of the ABC show concluded with remotely-shot installments, crowning winner Just Sam from the comfort of her apartment. Now, fans are going to get back to normal-ish as in-person auditions begin, but they're not happening across the country — instead all auditions will take place in California.

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According to Deadline, filming began October 5 and will see contestants from around the country travel to California to perform in front of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan who join host Ryan Seacrest for this new season. Among the new protocols are separate tables for the judges who each have their own zones in the audition segments.

As longtime fans of the singing competition know, American Idol is infamous for its judges table which includes three chairs for its panel. Season 19 will certainly look different as close interaction with fans is likely prohibited due to social distancing requirements.

American Idol Katy Perry Lionel Richie Luke Bryan

(Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless)

Rigorous health and safety protocols have been put in place to keep contestants and the judges safe as they practice local, state, union and industry guidelines from organizations including the CDC and OSHA. Fremantle, who produces the program, has been safely producing shows like America's Got Talent and ABC's other upcoming series Supermarket Sweep since the pandemic began.

Stay tuned for more information as the auditions carry on and catch American Idol when it returns on ABC.