After ‘American Idol: This Is Me,’ Fans Are Wondering How the Rest of the Season Work

American Idol Season 3 was in full-swing until the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began sweeping through the nation. Fans have seen weeks of auditions, watched countless contestants go home during Hollywood Week, and witnessed the pre-recorded performances in Hawaii.

With the Top 20 contestants announced and the nation practicing social distancing, fans are wondering how the rest of the season will go. Here’s what we know. 

American Idol This is Me special
‘American Idol’ Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan | ABC/Eric McCandless

Live episodes of ‘American Idol’ have been pushed back 

Traditionally, American Idol would be in live performance phase with viewers casting votes for their favorites. Because of the coronavirus, it’s not safe for large crowds of people to gather in one space. This forced American Idol producers to get creative.  

According to Deadline, live episodes of the singing competition were originally scheduled to air on April 6. Instead, repeats of Celebrity Family Feud and a primetime special, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Secrets & Surprises aired in its place. The network spread out their previously recorded Hawaii episodes, but now that those have concluded, American Idol needs another backup plan. That came in the form of the This Is Me special that aired last night. 

‘American Idol: This Is Me’ 

Host Ryan Seacrest greeted viewers by explaining that while American Idol is a show about music, it is also “about people and their stories and their dreams.” The first half of the two-part special revealed more about each contestant vying to become the next American Idol, including behind-the-scenes footage of the Top 20 contestants from Hollywood Week, as well as home videos.

American Idol: This Is Me also featured unseen audition footage and highlights of fan favorites who have since been eliminated, like the beloved garbage man Doug Kiker and Gilberto Rivera, whose rendition of “Proud Mary” pushed him through to Hollywood.

Katy Perry opened up about this season of ‘American Idol’ 

With a live audience ruled out, American Idol producers have to find other ways to keep the show going. For now, ABC is still exploring its options for continuing with this season, filling their time slot with specials like This Is Me

Over the weekend, judge Katy Perry took to Facebook to prep people for the upcoming episode and answer questions from fans, most of whom wanted to know: “How will this season of American Idol go on with most of the world in quarantine?”

Perry didn’t have a ton of clarity on the situation, but said: “We’re gonna all have to be really creative — I know we are going to be really creative.” Reporting live from her vehicle in a bunny costume, Perry recommended viewers tune in to find out how she and fellow judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie will do the show from home. “We’ll see how this goes,” Perry concluded. 

For now, contestants are home with their families until the coronavirus is under control and it’s safe for everyone to start filming again. Part two of American Idol: This Is Me will air on April 19.