American Idol is eschewing its live casting roadshow for a virtual tour.
The ABC competition series was renewed for a fourth season in May. Producers Fremantle generally kick off a live bus tour across American during the summer in search of contestants but this year the hunt will be digital due to COVID-19.
The first round of auditions – Idol Across America – will now be hosted using custom-built Zoom technology.
It will start August 10 with remote auditions taking place across all 50 states plus Washington, DC. It will run through September 9. Contestants, who must be between 15 and 28, can sign up online.
Last year, the show found Arthur Gunn, who moved from Nepal to Kansas after he turned up to one of Idol’s bus-stops.
Earlier this spring, when finishing up its third season on ABC, Idol showrunner and President of Entertainment Programming for FremantleMedia North America Trish Kinane told Deadline that there was uncertainty as to whether it will be able to roll this tour. “Where we find really interesting people, much more raw talent, we send these buses around the country and people turn up, quirky people. These are the people you’d never find on Instagram or TikTok. What we don’t know is whether we’ll be able to send those buses out in August like we normally do, because can we have crowds of people turning up?”
In June, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke told Deadline that she was hopeful that all of the show’s stars, including pregnant Katy Perry, will return. Perry is one of the judges alongside Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan with Ryan Seacrest hosting and Bobby Bones acting as in-house mentor.
American Idol is produced by Fremantle and Industrial Media’s 19 Entertainment. Executive producers include Trish Kinane, Jennifer Mullin and Megan Wolflick, with Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman serving as executive producers for 19 Entertainment. Fremantle distributes the series worldwide.