‘American Idol’ Had Its First Remote, Socially-Distanced Episode — Here’s How It Went

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan attend the premiere event for "American Idol" hosted by ABC
Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

American Idol contestants performed at home on Sunday night, making history as the reality show’s first remote episode.

Last night, the top 20 contestants performed in their homes via video calls. The judges also provided commentary remotely. Viewers were able to vote for contestants as they normally would.

The decision to have a fully remote episode came about due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

“We didn’t want to cancel the show, and we’re really serious about these kids’ dreams,” judge Katy Perry shared. “And we knew we were not far off from picking a winner.”

The producers put a lot of effort into figuring out how to make the show fair for all of the contestants.

Entertainment Tonight reported that the showrunners sent all contestants the same kit, so technology wasn’t a factor in swaying the public’s votes. This way, all the performers have the same high-quality equipment to level the playing field.

“Everybody got the same kit, because fairness is very important for everyone. So they got the same mic, they got the same iPhones, a ring light,” said Perry.

The show was a culmination of “about 25 households” all shooting their own videos.

One of the hottest topics of discussion was Katy Perry’s ensemble choice. Apparently, the judge put a lot of thought into what her outfit would be for the remote episode.

As a sign of the times, Perry decided to dress up as a bottle of hand sanitizer. She debuted her costume in an Instagram video on Sunday night.

The promotional video shows Perry washing dishes unsuspectingly, and then noticing the camera is filming her. She tells the audience to tune in before taking her plate of food and leaving the room, turning sideways to fit through the door frame.

The American Idol Instagram account commented on Perry’s video.

“Our QUEEN of Clean!” the show posted with a soap emoji.

Their official Instagram also posted a video of Perry in the hand sanitizer costume on their page.

While many fans found the humor in the image, some were not amused by Perry’s costume choice. Many found it to be offensive to the contestants who had to perform during these difficult times.

“Katy Perry good grief can’t stand her. Is this seriously what you wear for this show? It’s serious for these contestants, yet she makes it a joke,” wrote one user on the show’s Instagram post featuring Ryan Seacrest.

“Katy, I love you, but get outa that damn bottle,” wrote another Instagrammer.

American Idol will have another remote episode next week.