Charlie Puth, Stevie Wonder, Darius Rucker and Phillip Phillips will appear on Sunday's episode of American Idol

By Christina Dugan
May 01, 2020 02:05 PM
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American Idol has some surprises up its sleeve.

Celebrity guests including Charlie Puth, Stevie Wonder, Darius Rucker and Phillip Phillips will be appearing on Sunday's remote episode of the ABC singing competition show, PEOPLE exclusively confirms.

During the two-hour episode, titled "On with the Show: Homeward Bound," viewers will find out who America voted into the Top 10 and judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan will team up with friends and industry heavyweights to give the finalists a masterclass on what it takes to be a superstar.

Last week, longtime host Ryan Seacrest, the judges and the top 20 contestants put on a show from the comfort of their own homes amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

American Idol Guest Judges - Charlie Puth, Stevie Wonder and Darius Rucker To Make Appearances During Virtual Episode
Credit: ABC

American Idol is all about fairness, so we sent everyone a kit that had same mics, the same set, the same lights,” Perry, 35, told reporters during a conference call last week. “It was up to the talent. They had the option to perform with their own instruments or utilize our music director from afar.”

“The disadvantages would be that they don’t get the opportunity to play off of an audience,” the mom-to-be added. “They have to look into the lens of the camera as though it is an excited audience. They don’t get to flex that muscle. There’s a lot of time delay, there’s a lot of patience that we have to practice when we’re speaking, and the reactions can’t come as off the cuff as they do in a live setting. All things considered, I would say with all the circumstances, I think we’re really proud of it.”

“What I was missing was, I like to see the shaking of the hands, a little sweaty palms, how you handle yourself, your stage presence,” said Richie, 70. “That’s one thing we can’t teach. You either have that or you don’t. I think they just did so well and staged their own show and pulled it off. That was the only thing that was missing. My shout out goes out to the production team and the contestants. Everybody was just on point tonight.”

While Idol's finest continue to navigate this new norm, mentor Bobby Bones said the contestants are pulling through and handling it as best as they can.

AMERICAN IDOL
American Idol
| Credit: ABC

“In life, it’s not if adversity is going to hit, it’s when is it going to hit and how are you going to react when it happened,” he said. “I talked to them and said, ‘Hey, this is just something that happens.’ Maybe not this specifically, but there are always going to be things in your life and/or career that sideswipe you. You have two options: lay down or get up and keep going. Once they decide, ‘Okay, this is uncomfortable,’ they’ve had to set up their own studios. It’s equal eyes. It is clunky at times for them because they have to do things they’ve never done, but we’re all rocking it together.

American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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