With the Season 21 premiere of American Idol quickly approaching, longtime host Ryan Seacrest is opening up about what fans can expect from the new season.
During an interview with PEOPLE, the 48-year-old television personality said that fans can expect to see quite a few country singers in the mix of contestants.
“The season is going to be really great,” he teased. “We found some great contestants, a lot of country singers as one might expect.”
American Idol is known for producing country music artists, including Noah Thompson, HunterGirl, and Chayce Beckham during recent seasons, but have they tapped out that market? Seacrest says no.
“Every time we go out on the road we think, ‘OK, did we tap out on all the great talent?’ But what we’ve seen, honestly, is the contestants who are 7, 8, 9 years old, they practice like an athlete to audition when they can,” he added. “They take it very seriously, whereas in the earlier years, they kind of just did it on a whim. These kids rehearse for it, and they treat it like an Olympic sport in a way.”
American Idol recently teased the upcoming season with a new video promo clip, which featured all three Idol judges, including Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie as well as Seacrest.
The clip began as Perry walked by a golden neon sign for “Sin City” that the show transformed into “Sing City,” teasing Perry, Bryan and Richie’s time in Las Vegas as they embarked on their journey to finding the next American Idol.
As the video continued, Richie’s hand was seen running over the keys of a piano while Bryan popped champagne and Seacrest rolled a pair of dice.
Perry, who donned a sparkling silver dress and heels, then pulled down a ‘Golden Ticket’ slot machine handle, which unveiled each of the three judges’ faces shouting ‘Yes!’ earning a big win that showered down golden tickets.
“Who will win big and be the next American Idol?” Seacrest questioned as the judges reached for the golden tickets that fluttered down upon them in the clip. The video concludes as Seacrest revealed this year’s premiere date.
The Vegas theme for this year’s season of Idol presumably comes as the show celebrates its 21st year on air, similar to how you have to be 21 years old to be able to gamble in Sin City.
In late September of 2022, the Idol judges and host reunited in Las Vegas to begin taping for the upcoming Idol season.
In a photo shared by ABC, Richie, Perry, Bryan, and Seacrest were seen gathered around a poker table as they begin their hunt for Idol hopefuls.
In July, ABC announced the return of judges Richie, Perry, and Bryan. At the time, the network also revealed that Seacrest would return to host.
American Idol auditions took place throughout the month of August via Zoom or face-to-face events across the United States.
Auditions for American Idol season 21 are now closed.
In an interview with Parade, Bryan opened up about the constant hunt for rising stars and revealed he works closely with the Idol team to find exciting new talent.
“Megan [Michaels Wolflick], our showrunner, she texts the group several times, ‘Get ready, we’ve got great talent coming,’” he said. “A lot of times I’ll be on TikTok or Instagram and I’ll see a kid singing and performing and I’ll send her a link. So, we all work as a big, happy family to put on the best show. That’s what we’re always working towards.”
The upcoming season marks the show’s 21st season overall and sixth on ABC.
Season 21 of American Idol will premiere on Sunday, February 19, 2023, via the ABC Television Network.