American Idol will premiere Sunday, February 16, at 8 p.m. on ABC. Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan will return to the panel. Ryan Seacrest will return as host, and Bobby Bones will be the in-house mentor.
‘American Idol’ Introduces New Format
American Idol Net points out that the show is introducing a new twist this season. Lionel Richie revealed in a promo for the new season that there will be “head to head duets on Hollywood Week.”
Hollywood Week is the round following auditions. It’s a notoriously grueling period for contestants, as they perform both on their own and in groups, and the field is narrowed down. As American Idol Net noted, this “head to head duets” concept sounds a lot like the Battles on The Voice.
The Battle round also comes right after the auditions on The Voice. Is American Idol copying the NBC show’s format? Does it see The Voice as a threat? The Voice premieres February 24, about a week after American Idol, so their seasons will be running at the same time.
Is ‘American Idol’ Competing With ‘The Voice’?
Luke Bryan also revealed in the promo that “America gets to vote earlier this season.” It’s not clear exactly when this early voting will happen, but it could be another tactic to win viewers over The Voice.
In Season 16, The Voice introduced Live Cross Battles, which allowed viewers to vote earlier in the process. However, the concept was scrapped last season, as the show returned to the earlier format. Is American Idol trying to beat The Voice to the live shows in order to attract more viewers?
We’ll have to wait and see which show comes out on top this season, although we’ll obviously be watching both.