The Top 20 American Idol contestants will join the three judges, host Ryan Seacrest and Bobby Bones when the show goes live on ABC on April 26.

The group — including Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry — will all be live from their homes, as the United States is still facing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and won't be freed up from social distancing this month. Messages shared across the celebrities' social media pages reveal a few details of how the production will operate, with a story in the Hollywood Reporter filling in a few gaps.

Right now, there are 21 finalists on American Idol, with two vying for fan votes to become the final finalist. That person (Lauren Mascitti and Grace Leer) will be announced on Sunday (April 19) during the second of two American Idol: This Is Me episodes.

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The remaining contestants will perform live from their homes, with the judges offering critiques from their respective homes. It's similar to how Blake Shelton says The Voice will operate once the NBC show goes live in May. The circumstances were forced by the coronavirus pandemic and the need to shelter at home. Travel and gatherings of any size are strongly discouraged if not prohibited across the country.

What's not clear is how the format of the show or communication between judges and contestants will work. One imagines a giant Zoom meeting taking place to allow for the various people to interact, which American Idol could also tape as live for playback later.

Season 18 of American Idol returns live on April 26. Laine Hardy won in 2019, becoming the fourth country singer to win the reality competition.

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