American Idol Is Moving Forward With New Season With Auditions From Home

american idol abc ryan seacrest
(Image credit: ABC)

American Idol is one of many major TV shows that will soon run out of episodes, although Idol is one that hasn’t totally scrapped its current season. The third season on ABC is on hold, with plans to stretch the remaining filmed footage and keep fans entertained for as long as possible despite a lack of live shows. The good news for American Idol fans (and hopefuls) is that ABC is moving ahead on Season 4, and auditions will happen with potential superstars singing from home.

The show dropped the news via Instagram and has accumulated nearly 4,000 likes in its first few hours online. The initial post made it clear that hopefuls would be auditioning from home, and the official site offered some more details about how it’s going to work.

Potential contestants can register at the official online audition website and submit a video, which can be pre-existing from a computer, mobile device, or YouTube link, so long as the video meets the specific American Idol requirements. Hopefuls will have to answer a series of questions (some via video), perform within a certain time limit and include the person’s name and title of the song.

Contestants will only be able to submit one audition video with the Online Auditions, so first time will have to be the charm when it comes to Season 4! Original songs are allowed, per usual, but filming from home doesn’t mean backup music, instruments, or singers are allowed. Backing tracks are allowed, as long there is no digital distortion or enhancement.

Interestingly, American Idol doesn’t seem to be accounting for any kind of delay that would prevent the new season from kicking off, even if the audition process will be via singers recording video from home. Online auditions can be submitted between April 7 and October 26, 2020, and contestants who get to move to the next round will find out by November 1, 2020.

With no note that callbacks will be done via video as well, it seems that American Idol is going full steam ahead on Season 4 despite a lack of certainty regarding the rest of Season 3. In fact, the official information states that for contestants under the age of 18, “parent or legal guardian must accompany you to the audition callback.” That definitely suggests callbacks in person rather than remotely.

Only time will tell if American Idol will indeed go back to business as usual in time for callbacks to begin for Season 4 as they always do. At this point, I’m mostly wondering if Season 3 will be abbreviated whenever production can begin again. While the contestants undoubtedly deserve the full American Idol experience, there may not be time to finish a regular season as well as prepare to launch the next on time.

Still, I can imagine finishing American Idol Season 3 as a priority for ABC. A reality competition series like American Idol may be able to jump right back into production a lot faster than scripted fare, once shows are able to start back up again.

As of now, only two completed episodes of American Idol Season 3 on ABC are left before the live shows were set to begin. You can catch them on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.