American Idol will go out with a bang, expanding to a three-night finale in a shortened season, the Fox show confirmed Wednesday night (Jan. 6). The show’s final season will be four weeks shorter than last, as Billboard exclusively reported last month.
The three-night grand finale will kick off April 5 with American Idol: American Dream, a one-hour retrospective episode, featuring Ryan Seacrest, current and former judges, contestants and the behind-the-scenes team sharing their Idol memories.
Then, the remaining finalists will battle it out live from the Dolby Theatre on Wednesday, April 6, at 8 p.m. The winner will be crowned Thursday, April 7, at 8 p.m. The series will end with a “farewell celebration” and the crowning of the 15th and final American Idol winner.
Auditions will continue this week on Thursday night in San Francisco and Little Rock. Next week’s auditions will be in Philadelphia (Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. ET); Denver and Little Rock (Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. ET); Atlanta, Little Rock, Philadelphia and San Francisco (Jan. 20 at 8 p.m ET); and final stops back in Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco (Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. ET).
Hollywood Week kicks off Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. The “showcase” round will debut Feb. 4, with the top 24 being revealed that night.
Then, for three weeks beginning Feb. 10 (8 p.m. ET) and Feb. 11 (8 p.m. ET), fan-favorite Idol alumni will return to mentor and sing with the top 24.
The semifinalists will be narrowed down by the judges on Feb. 24, with the top 10 being announced the next night, along with their first performances. Live performances will kick off March 3 at 8 p.m., with one show a week until the grand finale.