Despite delay, Ryan Seacrest insists ‘American Idol’ will find a way to do live shows — with performances, judge comments, fan voting

Most of the country is still adjusting to being cooped-up in their homes and avoiding being in crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. That includes big-league musical artists who don’t have the benefit to perform in big arenas and put on live shows. But in times of crisis, you do what you can to lift spirits and spread joy. That has been the case with such stars as John Legend, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Pink, John Mayer and Keith Urban who found virtual ways to serenade their fans. Legend, for one, took to Instagram Live and Facebook to stream an hour-long performance.

However, the dire circumstances we are facing are also affecting reality TV shows that rely on live audiences to inject excitement and immediacy. That includes “American Idol,” whose last taped episode will air on Sunday, April 5, when the final Top 20 singers will be revealed. The following Sundays, April 12 and 19, will feature brand-new “American Idol: This is Me” episodes that focus on the lives of the finalists. The first live show, scheduled to air on April 6, is now cancelled.

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The show won’t be able to use a studio for the usual packed live shows that end up with the viewers deciding who will leave each week. But have no fear. Host Ryan Seacrest told gossip site TMZ that “Idol” will be able to deliver the competition’s usual elements while keeping  judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan along with the finalists safe.

Ryan told TMZ that those behind the scenes are still figuring out how to pull off what are usually live episodes that rely on the energy of the audience and reactions to certain singers to build excitement. Basically, he says, the end goal would be giving those watching all the usual elements, namely live performances, comments from the judges and fan voting.

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If Legend can pull it off from his home while in his bathrobe in front of a piano, you would think that the Top 20 could, too. Inserting the usual live band back-up singers as accompaniment might prove difficult, especially for hopefuls who don’t play an instrument.

But here is hoping that the producers do find a work-around and not cheat such fine singers as Nick Merico, DeWayne Crocker Jr., Louis Knight, Francisco Martin, Jovin Webb, Faith Becnal, Just Sam and Jonny West from chasing their “Idol” dreams.

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