“American Idol” is going virtual.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the singing competition series to make some necessary changes.
With cases spiking nationwide, season 4 will no longer have a live casting component as it embraces virtual auditions known as "Idol Across America."
According to Entertainment Weekly, the first round of auditions will be held remotely through a custom-built Zoom technology. Contestants will still get their face-to-face interactions with “Idol” producers, but digitally instead of in-person.
The network said the new format will stay “true to its roots by providing aspiring Idols real-time feedback on their journey to being crowned the next ‘American Idol,'" per FOX.
Remote auditions will kick off on August 10 in Delaware, Florida, and Ohio. They will continue on through all 50 states before wrapping up in Washington, D.C. in September.
With production on TV shows and films slowly ramping back up following the mid-March shutdowns, the new season has been pushed to a 2021 airdate.
The competition series was forced to improvise and finish off season 3 at-home. Just Sam, the virtual winner of season 3, gave those looking for their shot at fame some words of advice: "You might be auditioning from your bedroom, your living room, but you have to treat this as if you're on the Idol stage in front of millions of people."
Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan will return as judges for the upcoming season.
Check out the Idol website for more information and find out when virtual auditions are coming to your town below:
- Delaware, Florida, and Ohio (Aug. 10)
- Louisiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin (Aug. 12)
- Arizona, Oregon, and Washington (Aug. 14)
- Georgia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Rhode Island (Aug. 16)
- Open Call Auditions (Aug. 17)
- Alabama, Arkansas, and Kansas (Aug. 18)
- Idaho, New Mexico, and Utah (Aug. 20)
- Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas (Aug. 22)
- Michigan, Tennessee, and Virginia (Aug. 24)
- Open Call Auditions (Aug. 25)
- Iowa, Mississippi, and Oklahoma (Aug. 26)
- Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota (Aug. 28)
- Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York (Aug. 30)
- Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming (Sept. 1)
- Maine, South Carolina, and West Virginia (Sept. 3)
- Alaska, California, and Hawai‘i (Sept. 5)
- Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania (Sept. 7)
- Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Vermont (Sept. 9)
“American Idol” isn’t the first talent competition to host virtual auditions.
“America’s Got Talent,” one of the first show’s to go into production, moved filming from an indoor location to outdoors in Simi Valley, California where a stage was transformed into a drive-in movie theater.
On the first day, Simon Cowell, along with the other judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and “Modern Family” alum Sofia Vergara, held video chats with the acts to inform them whether or not they advanced forward to the live shows.
A total of 10 contestants were chosen to film pre-taped performances, which the judges watched outside on a big screen after arriving in separate cars.