‘American Idol’ stays safe with remote episode and Katy Perry as hand sanitizer

Ryan Seacrest, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, DeWayne Crocker Jr. and Luke Bryan on ‘American Idol’
Clockwise from top left: Host Ryan Seacrest, contestant DeWayne Crocker Jr. and judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie in the first-ever remote episode of “American Idol.”
(ABC )

Katy Perry knows what Americans need most right now: a giant bottle of hand sanitizer.

“I want to make sure that ‘American Idol’ is staying as safe as possible,” Perry said as she walked into frame for the long-running competition series’ first-ever remote show on Sunday. She was dressed as a bottle of “Idol”-branded sanitizer.

With various stay-at-home orders in place all across the U.S. because of the coronavirus crisis, the latest episode of “American Idol” featured judges Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, host Ryan Seacrest, and the top 20 contestants filming from multiple locations.

“This is our show like you’ve never seen it before,” noted Seacrest at the top of the episode. But the longtime host assured viewers that the show’s most important dynamic remains — the viewers’ votes determine who proceeds in the competition.


The show toggled views between the cameras of Seacrest, the judges and contestants, much like a video conference. Without the official “American Idol” stage, each performer had to be creative with backdrops, singing from places such as their backyards and garages in performances filmed on iPhones.

Adding to the feeling of intimacy, some contestants could be seen getting hugs from family members as they finished singing.


“What’s so cool about this process is that every contestant gets sent the same stuff,” said Perry as she was giving feedback to one of the performers. “You get the same mic … the same ring light. But not everyone sounds the same at the end.”

In a post-show conference call with reporters, Bryan explained that “each contestant had three opportunities to perform their performance and pick from their best one. They just had to pick their favorite one of those performances,” according to People.

Perry said during that call that each contestant also “had the option to perform with their own instruments or utilize our music director from afar.”

“American Idol” airs Sundays and Mondays on ABC.

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