When the new season of American Idol premieres Sunday on ABC, it'll be a bit different, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting last August, the show used custom-built Zoom technology to host live, virtual remote auditions from all fifty states and Washington, D.C.
Even though it'll be a season like none before, judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry promise the Idol magic remains intact.
"They really do a great job at really scouring the country and America and really getting that talent to us," Luke tells ABC Audio. "I mean, obviously in the early years of Idol, they really hit a lot of different, different cities. But now we have the ability with the help of online and virtual..."
"Virtual everything," Lionel interjects.
"Yeah, virtual everything," Luke agrees, "I mean, these kids can submit a very, very positive audition."
Luke goes on to say he even hopes the different way they were forced to do auditions "may motivate somebody to try out that may have not necessarily tried out on a normal year."
After all, part of the unchanging appeal of American Idol is that you never know when an unexpected talent may appear.
"The last day," Luke says, "the final inning, the ninth inning, there may be a special..."
"Bottom of the ninth!" Katy suggests.
"The bottom of the ninth," Luke agrees, "there may be a special kid that comes in that really has something to offer."
The two-hour premiere of American Idol, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, starts Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
By Stephen Hubbard
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