American Idol still plans on finishing up the new season by broadcasting live episodes from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Country radio host Bobby Bones is still participating as the in-house mentor, joining judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan and host Ryan Seacrest. While preparing for his part of the first unusual show, Bones assured fans Seacrest would be prepared for the situation.
"Ryan’s the greatest of all time at what he does," Bones told PEOPLE Friday. "I don't think Ryan ever gets nervous. He's the GOAT of hosts. I don't really consider myself a host as much as someone who can be funny and hopefully help people. Ryan is the greatest. I talk to Ryan almost every day at this point and he's just like, 'Okay, we've got A, B … he's just so good at what he does. Ryan's not worried. If he is, I can't tell. I'm over here like, 'Can you hear this guitar?' And Ryan's just like, 'Let's go, let's go.' He's good, I'm not."
Sunday night's episode will be the first American Idol remote episode, as production was put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. Since the season could be put off for months if producers insisted on having the performers sing in a studio, it was decided to air the show remotely. The unique plans were announced on April 19. On Wednesday, Idol released a PSA featuring the judges and the Top 20 contestants covering the late Bill Withers' "Lean On Me."
"It's been really wild because no one ever attempted what we're doing, which is coming from 40 places at once," Bones told PEOPLE. "Just walking through rehearsals, it's been pretty wild. We have 20 contestants, in 20 different cities. We have Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Ryan Seacrest and myself in five different places. It's unlike anything we've ever seen. I'm nervous about how it's all going to come together on Sunday."
The episode will also feature a special guest. Seacrest dug out the original American Idol judges desk used by Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, which he kept in his garage in case of an emergency. "Kept this in my garage for over 3 years in case of an emergency," Seacrest wrote. "The time has come.... [American Idol] is going to be HISTORIC on so many levels. We're broadcasting from 25 different locations - don't miss an all-new show this Sunday at 8/7c on ABC!"
When Seacrest and ABC announced Idol's return for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Seacrest gave fans a preview of what they will see. "...This competition will continue as the Top 20 compete for your vote with epic performances," Seacrest said. "Be here as we come to you from our contestants, our judges and my home in 25 different locations across North America as you witness television history."