Bobby Bones has an answer when it comes to American Idol fans' questions about whether he will return as an in-house mentor for this upcoming season of the ABC singing competition. Curiosity was piqued when, as the network announced Wednesday that judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie would be returning, as would host Ryan Seacrest, Bones was not included in the cast list.
Thursday, Bones clarified that it was a potential conflict with another show he is filming that has caused the delay, tweeting out an article from Deadline theorizing there were still ongoing conversations about his schedule after the radio host signed on to a 16-part Nat Geo travelogue titled Breaking Bobby Bones. "Tension...." Bones wrote alongside the article about his name being excluded from the announcement, adding in another tweet, "[Just kidding] jk jk. [The article] just describes whats going on. I have another show that Im trying to figure out. thanks for caring though guys. I really appreciate it."
"American Idol has always been able to bring people together, entertain and inspire — and I am so proud of how this show continued to deliver joy and laughter into people’s homes during a time when we needed it the most," ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said in the announcement Wednesday. "There is no one who we feel more confident about leading us into a new season of high notes than Luke, Katy, Lionel and the incomparable Ryan Seacrest."
Added showrunner Trish Kinane, "Katy, Lionel and Luke are fun, astute and really know how to spot talent. Their chemistry is undeniable, and we are delighted that they, along with host Ryan Seacrest, are returning to find the next superstar and take American Idol to new heights next season."
Last season of American Idol, won by Samantha Diaz (a.k.a. Just Sam) looked different than any before, as the coronavirus pandemic caused ABC to halt live performances and in-person filming mid-season in favor of all virtual at-home performances and judging. While it hasn't been announced how this new season of Idol will be filming when it launches in spring 2021 in order to keep the musicians and the judges safe, the network is moving forward with recruiting talent. While now would be the time in which nationwide auditions would be underway, Idol has instead launched virtual auditions across all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., for the first time since the show’s beginning.