‘American Idol’ Reveals Big Changes For 20th Anniversary Season

Major changes are coming to American Idol.  On Wednesday (Jan. 12), ABC Network, home to the popular singing competition show,…


Lauren Jo Black

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January 12, 2022


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Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan; Photo via Idol

Major changes are coming to American Idol

On Wednesday (Jan. 12), ABC Network, home to the popular singing competition show, shared a clip revealing updates to the milestone 20th Season of Idol.  

Contestants might be in for major surprises this season as Idol teased that some of their most popular alums may return to mentor Idol hopefuls. With Bobby Bones out as the in-house mentor, will artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and Gabby Barrett return to share their experiences and offer advice. 

Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest; Photo Courtesy American Idol
Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest; Photo Courtesy American Idol

“In terms of the contestants, I want to see every one of them come back, way back from the beginning,” longtime host Ryan Seacrest shared with Deadline. ”I remember a moment with Clay and Ruben, I want to see Carrie again, I love seeing Jennifer Hudson. I can remember standing next to them looking at their faces and reactions in moments of success and challenge.”

Idol showrunner and executive producer Megan Michaels Wolflick shared that the show will be welcoming back some familiar faces to fill Bones’ shoes.

“There’s not anyone to replace Bobby per se, but this year we will be leaning into our amazing American Idol universe alum to help our current Idols along the way in different stages of the competition,” Michaels Wolflick told the outlet. ”Lots of those familiar faces America has grown to love will be seen throughout the season, and we’re really excited to give back.”

Along with the possible return of famous Idol alumni, the show also revealed an addition to the audition process. On top of handing out golden tickets, the judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, will have one platinum ticket to award contestants per city. 

“See that wall over there… There is one platinum ticket that gets given in each city we go to, you get to go to Hollywood week, but you get a little shortcut because it’s the 20th year of creating superstars, and you’re a superstar,” Perry told one contestant in the teaser clip.


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American Idol will return for its 20th anniversary season on February 27. Michaels Wolflick said that she has hopes to bring in a live audience, however, she understands that plans may change due to the ongoing global health crisis.  

“Last year, we were able to have a safe, minimal, masked audience, whereas before we were Idol at home. It is of course our goal to have the fans back in the studio because that’s what makes the atmosphere,” she explained. “Having had this be our third year in the pandemic, we are ready to pivot on a dime at a moment’s notice, ready to be innovative to make this show move forward in 2022. It is our aspiration at this moment to going back to as many fans as possible in that studio, being completely safe with LA County.”

Click above to watch the new American Idol teaser clip.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.