American Idol Moves Forward With Live Episodes; Top 20 to Perform Remotely

American Idol Season 18 Live Episodes

American Idol‘s Top 20 — or is it Top 21? — had better start warming up, because ABC is finally going live later this month.

The network on Tuesday announced a plan to air live episodes of Season 18, with contestants singing remotely for America’s votes. Beginning Sunday, April 26 (8/7c), Idol “will be coming to audiences remotely with our three judges, Ryan Seacrest, Bobby Bones and our top 20 contestants performing for America’s vote remotely,” according to a statement.

Production on Idol’s current season was shut down last month in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Filming was halted to ensure that contestants could get home to their families.

But before the live episodes begin, we still have the second part of American Idol: This Is Me, airing Sunday, April 19 at 8 pm. The two-part special “delves deeper into the lives of our Top 20 contestants, with unseen footage and performance highlights.” We’ll also learn which country crooner, Grace Leer or Lauren Mascitti, will nab the final spot in this season’s Top 20.

TVLine recently asked its readers to rank their favorite singers, and some of the results came as a surprise — even to us. According to their votes, the five Season 18 contestants to watch are Arthur Gunn, Just Sam, Dillon James, Sophia Wackerman and Francisco Martin. (Click here to see their complete ranking of the Top 21.)

Your thoughts on Idol going remote? Which contestant(s) are you already planning to vote for? Drop a comment with your picks below.