'American Idol' Tour to Return For 2018 Season

ABC/Eric McCandless
American Idol

Top seven contestants from ABC competition will play 40-city tour produced by Faculty's Jared Paul

With the American Idol Live 2018 tour, producer Jared Paul with Faculty Productions is going back to his roots with the return of the live show after a three-year absence. 

Paul's first gig in the live music industry was at the MCI Center in Washington D.C. (now the Capital One Arena) where he promoted the D.C. date on the inaugural 2002 American Idol tour with winner Kelly Clarkson. That job eventually led to his working with Irving Azoff and launching his career as a producer, manager and founder of Faculty Productions.

"For me, it's coming back full-circle being involved in a tour that opened my eyes to how TV shows put butts in seats and entertain people," Paul tells Billboard. "I've always wanted to be a part of this tour because I always thought there was something we could do to help. Thankfully, they took us up on that offer."

This year's tour will feature this season’s talented Top 7 finalists: Cade Foehner, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Catie Turner, Gabby Barrett, Jurnee, Maddie Poppe and Michael J. Woodard as well as Season 8 American Idol winner Kris Allen as a special guest.

"He's not only a very successful Idol winner who sold a lot of records and had a hit record, but he's also continued to have a bridge with the show and is a great fit for us," Paul said.

Also joining the tour is In Real Life, winners of the ABC’s 2017 summer reality competition show Boy Band. The tour had previously been handled by Core Media Group, which is now co-producing Idol with Faculty, while UTA is helping route the 40-date run. Core's CEO Dennis Miller, CFO Scott Frosch and director for business and legal affairs Chris Towson were involved in finalizing the tour deal with Faculty.

Idol launches July 11 at the Redding Civic Auditorium in California and will mostly stop at performing arts centers and fairgrounds including the Oregon State Fair in Salem (Aug. 27), as well as iconic theaters like the Ryman in Nashville (Sept. 9) and the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (Aug. 14). The tour concludes Sept. 16 at the Warner Theater in Washington D.C.

"We're excited to play a traditional theater tour and go to more places," Paul said. "The show has a very deep audience, especially in the heartland of America. This is not just a major market run."

The tour won't follow a competition format, but will feature new material unique to the tour, as well as one-of-a-kind collaborations and duets. Faculty Productions is part of Live Nation, and Paul has a successful history in TV touring, producing live for runs Dancing with the Stars as well as America's Got Talent, Glee and Julianne and Derek Hough's wildly successful 2014 Move tour.went off the air in 2015 and Fox did not tour the final season.

Idol show was picked up by ABC last year and relaunched with a new creative focus and judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie and presenter Ryan Seacrest. The ABC reboot was recently renewed by the network, following last week's Disney-themed live show, which was watched by 10.5 million viewers.

A complete list of dates for the 2018 American Idol tour can be found at americanidollive.com