'American Idol' to make virtual return amid COVID-19 pandemic with performances from home

For the first time in the show's 18-year history, Ryan Seacrest and the contestants will host and perform from their homes.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- "American Idol" is embracing the old show business adage "The show must go on." For the first time in the show's 18-year history, Ryan Seacrest and the contestants will host and perform from their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Up until now, we've seen the top 20 finalists trying to become the next American Idol step and up and perform under the best of conditions - no worries about sound, lights or camera shots. They just had to sing and hopefully make a connection the judges could feel.

Until now.

As American Idol's official mentor, Bobby Bones is there to help them in any way he can. Producers are making sure all of the young singers have a reliable internet connection. But the rest, the ingenuity, is up to the competitors.

"In our career, in the industry we've chosen, it's all about how can you roll with the punches," said Bones. "I love any time you can put a little pressure from a different angle because you really learn how strong someone is when you can push at them from all sides."

Almost half of the remaining contestants live in California. Next week, the number will be cut to ten.

"That's what's crazy is that you have to come and go right to the top of your game because you can't skate by; you can't just do pretty good. You really have to be in that elite half," said Bones. "We have performances for the first time ever from home, from all these locations and if you're not amazing, then there's no more "American Idol' for you."



As for the show's host, there's a hint of nostalgia here, as Seacrest explained to his millions of followers on Twitter. The desk he will be using is the original desk that Randy, Paula, and Simon had.

"It was in my garage, in storage," said Seacrest, who never expected to bring it out.

Don't miss the virtual return of "American Idol" Sunday at 8 p.m. PST on ABC7.
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