'American Idol' Studio Production Canceled Due to Coronavirus

The fate of this season's American Idol may be up in the air. A report by TMZ on Monday suggests that the show will be abandoning filming in a studio. This doesn't mean the whole season will be a wash, however.

Prior to this development, production had sent contestants who advanced into the Top 20 home amid the coronavirus outbreak. TVLine was the first to share this news, adding that producers would be taking things on a week-to-week basis when evaluating what their next move would be. It sounds like their next move will need to see them get creative. An email obtained by TMZ shared a message that was sent to the crew, "As we continue to monitor advice from federal and local agencies, it seems unlikely we are going to be able to make it back into the studio for this season of American Idol."

The report suggests a few options that could lie ahead for the hit singing competition. The outlet's source note that "the plan is still to produce the show" but not in the format at-home viewers are used to seeing. It sounds like the three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — will be working from home. That would also be the same for the likes of Ryan Seacrest and Bobby Bones. With this option, the source shared that "viewers will ultimately decide who wins and who ends up packing."

An official statement has not yet been released by ABC.

In addition to impacting the live shows, the coronavirus has also had an effect on the pre-recorded episodes. ABC made it known to its viewers that the episodes featuring Disney's Aulani resort in Hawaii, which is shut down along with the rest of Disney's properties in the states, were previously recorded and not live. The reality show also had to adjusts it schedule, straying away from the usual Sunday-Monday back-to-back episodes this week. Instead, the second half of the Aulani round did not air on Monday as viewers learned. The final pre-recorded episode will air on April 5.

With the entire country focusing on eliminating the spread of the coronavirus, the show's judges delivered a message to their fans, urging them to stay home. Richie delivered a powerful Instagram post when sharing his public service announcement.

"We are all in this together," Richie wrote. "Tonight, let us find comfort through inspiring American Idol stories of triumph, courage and strength. We hope this new duets night of [Hollywood Week] will allow you to find joy in these uncertain times. From the Richie Family, stay safe and stay healthy."


Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless