Everything you need to know about 'American Idol' Season 19

The panel of judges in American Idol.
The panel of judges in American Idol. (Image credit: ABC )

The iconic series, American Idol, is heading back to our screens to bring fans of the long-running singing competition a much-needed escape from what is going on in the world around us. The series — which aired on FOX for 15 years before moving to its current home on ABC in 2018 — is now in its 19th season. Last year we saw Just Sam crowned the winner after beating the other 2020 finalists Arthur Gunn, Dillon James, Louis Knight, Francisco Martin, Jonny West and Julia Gargano. 

Because of the pandemic, auditions for this season have looked a little different than in previous years. The show has been holding virtual live auditions via its Idol Across America program. The American Idol Season 19 try-out process started back in the summer of 2020 and finished on October 28th.

But which aspiring singer will win the hearts of the nation this year? 

When will Season 19 of 'American Idol' premier? 

Season 19 of American Idol will air on ABC on February 14th at 8/7c. The new episodes will then be available to stream the next day on ABC.com. The third season of American Idol on ABC was the number one broadcast show among adults on a Sunday, and also proved to be the most social TV series for the network after gaining 21.1 million social interactions. 

ABC is available on most major streaming services in the United States. Our recommendation is to check out FuboTV. In addition to local ABC networks (in most markets - be sure to double check with your area before signing up), FuboTV has a competitive list of channels, as well as premium add-ons. And it's even better if you're a sports fan, with options for international events that you can't find anywhere else.

How to watch Season 19 of 'American Idol' anywhere in the world 

If you're not in your usual ABC viewing market and still want to watch American Idol, a VPN might be just the thing you need. A VPN allows your network traffic to flow through a specific set of servers in a specific country. So if you want to watch ABC in the U.S., you can watch ABC in the U.S.

The only catch is you need to be able to trust your VPN provider, because all of your network traffic — encrypted and unencrypted alike — will be flowing through it. For that, we've long been fans of ExpressVPN.


ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to watch American Idol from anywhere in the world.

Who will be on the judging panel 'American Idol' Season 19?

Despite there being some original doubts over whether Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie would be returning for Season 19, ABC confirmed back in August of last year that the judging trio would be back for the fourth year running. While Katy likes to keep things fun on the panel, Lionel, of course, brings the experience, and Luke brings the smooth-talking charm. 

In 2019 the live shows were severely interrupted by the pandemic, separating the judges as the shows were filmed remotely from everyone's homes. This year we're hoping things will be back to some sort of normality after the show posted a picture of the judges all back on set. Reunited at last! 

It has also been confirmed that Ryan Seacrest, who has hosted the singing show since its debut on FOX back in 2002 will be returning. Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment said in a statement to the press: 

"There is no one who we feel more confident about leading us into a new season so high notes than Luck, Katy and Lionel and the incomparable Ryan Seacrest.  

Bobby Bones, who has been on American Idol since Season 16 also returns to the show as in-house mentor to the budding stars, having signed his deal with ABC in October. 

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.