AMERICAN Idol is returning for its 20th season this year, with a few changes in the works.
The show will be celebrating 20 years since it first premiered in 2002, and host Ryan Seacrest will have some surprises in store for viewers.
Who will the American Idol judges be?
The 20th season of American Idol kicks off on February 27, 2022, on ABC and will welcome back several judges with one notable difference.
Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan will all return as American Idol judges this season, and executive producer and showrunner, Megan Wolflick said they are thrilled to welcome them back.
"The chemistry and passion Katy, Luke, Lionel, and Ryan bring is second to none. We couldn’t be more ecstatic that they are returning for this iconic 20th season in search of the freshest new talent that this nation has to offer.”
However, Bobby Bones who was the fourth judge in the previous four seasons was removed due to conflicting commitments.
In a now-expired Instagram post, Bones said, "Some of you noticed I’m not in the Idol promos this season. My contract (with) my new network won’t let me do another show right now. Love Idol, btw. Was a great 4 years."
Wolflick said they don't have another person lined up to take Bones' place, but there are alternative ideas in the works to include former American Idol contestants and winners.
What changes will there be this season?
Ryan Seacrest says he wants to bring back old faces from earlier seasons to commemorate the show's highs, lows, and everything in between.
“In terms of the contestants, I want to see every one of them come back, way back from the beginning," Seacrest told Parade.
"I remember a moment with Clay (Aiken) and Ruben (Stoddard), I want to see Carrie (Underwood) again, I love seeing Jennifer Hudson. I can remember standing next to them looking at their faces and reactions in moments of success and challenge.”
The American Idol alums would be brought back to assist the judges and mentor the singers throughout the season.
Wolflick said, "…This year we will be leaning into our amazing American Idol university alum to help our current Idols along the way in different stages of the competition, so lots of those familiar faces, who America has grown to love will be seen throughout the season and we are very, very excited and our alum is excited to give back."
In addition to bringing back old faces, a new ticket will be passed out to three lucky contestants who are considered to be above the rest.
During auditions, these three contestants, one chosen from Nashville, Austin, and Los Angeles, will receive a platinum ticket allowing them to attend Hollywood Week to rest and observe the competition.
This will give them an advantage in selecting who they want to sing a duet with later in the season.
Katy Perry told Parade, “We identify the best talent in each place and we give them this ticket, rather than our usual gold ticket, so this ticket gives them the ability to go to Hollywood Week.
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Where can I watch American Idol?
American Idol will air on February 27 at 8pm ET and fans will be able to watch the show every Sunday on ABC.
They can also stream American Idol on the ABC app or on Hulu.
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