American Idol To Return On April 26th, Remote Performances & Multiple Eliminations

American Idol has a set return date! It’s slated to return this Sunday, April 26th, but it’s going to look extremely different than any other season.

According to Variety, host Ryan Seacrest will host from the oldIdoldesk the Fox run while being produced live-to-tape, and contestants will send in their footage to producers to edit into something manageable.

The most notable change will be that there will be only four episodes, meaning that there will be multiple eliminations, starting with Sunday when the top 20 will be narrowed down to 10. ABC executive Rob Mills says that “four weeks is the right amount of time for these people to perform. It’s going to be more cutthroat…there is going to be less room for error. And I think that will make it more exciting.”

The contestants were sent lighting kits and iPhone cameras for filming and have also had multiple meetings with producers, instructing them how to shoot their performance, wardrobe, hair and makeup, and how to work with the in-house band and vocal coaches.

Producers are also setting up a split screen feature for the judges to watch the performances along with the contestants. The only live moment will be when Ryan Seacrest announces the winner.

Celebrity judges will still be a feature and executive producer Trish Kinane says, “It’s still Idol. We want it to look and feel like Idol but it will have a different perspective. We want it to look and feel like Idol but it will have a different perspective.”