‘American Idol’ Reportedly Begins Filming Season 4 With Restrictions Due To COVID-19

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan judge American Idol.
Eric McCandless / ABC

American Idol has reportedly begun filming Season 4 with restrictions set in place to ensure the safety of the contestants and all involved with the production due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Judges’ auditions for the series reportedly began production on October 5, reported Deadline. American Idol will now hold these in several California locations to be closer to the home base of the show rather than in areas around the United States as was done in the past.

The show’s judges, which include Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry, have returned along with AI host Ryan Seacrest. In order to stay six feet apart from one another, they will be seated at separate tables instead of one long desk. Competitors and those involved with the series must adhere to these new standards to ensure the safety of those on set. Deadline reported that social distancing is required and the cast and crew must wear masks when not on camera.

In preparation for this new series of episodes, American Idol announced online auditions that began on June 21 in an Instagram post seen here.

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Ryan Seacrest appear on American Idol.
  Eric McCandless / ABC

Prospective contestants from all 50 states were able to send in their audition tapes during set dates that were revealed on the show’s official website. The only stipulation was that performers had to be between 15 and 28 years old to audition. This remote opportunity gave even more singers and performers the chance to display their skills than just those who, in the past, had traveled to a live audition location and waited during an open casting call.

American Idol was filmed remotely during the early months of the pandemic. American Idol was the first television production of 2020 to air a completely remote episode. Prior to the shift, contestants were in Los Angeles and working with vocal coaches in preparation for the Top 20 episode that was to be broadcast in March 2020.

After it was decided that the spread of COVID-19 would disrupt the way filming would be handled, American Idol moved to broadcast remotely. Competitors were given recording equipment by AI in order to create what would be a staged performance in their homes.

Just Sam was named the winner of Season 3.

American Idol was the first of the reality singing competition television shows. It made its debut on Fox Television during the summer of 2002. The first season was won by Kelly Clarkson and was hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman.