Lionel Richie
Source: Getty Images

Lionel Richie Didn't Film 'American Idol' In Person Because He's In Quarantine

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Mar. 29 2021, Published 2:37 p.m. ET

Although American Idol has largely adapted its format to be COVID-safe, there are still variables that are outside of the production's control. As it turns out, one of those variables is the social lives of its judges, who are a key part of the show's filming. In the most recent episodes of the show, Lionel Richie appeared virtually, and many fans wondered why he wasn't live, in-person with his fellow judges. 

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Why is Lionel Richie virtual on 'American Idol'?

The "Hello" singer wasn't a part of the most recent episode of the show in person because he was quarantining from his home. Prior to his appearance on the show, Lionel teased the fact that he would be filming from home, but he still managed to take an active role in the selecton of the top 24. He may have been unable to participate in person, but Lionel realized that the show must go on.  

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Does Lionel Richie have COVID?

Because Lionel was appearing virtually, many fans of the show assumed that he had COVID. Although he has not announced that he has tesed positive, his virtual experience is because he was exposed to someone who later tested positive. As a result, he has to quarantine for two weeks and produce a negative COVID test before he can return to filming. 

Given those strict guidelines, it seems likely that Lionel will also be appearing virtually for the show's next episode. At some point, though, he'll return to the season live and in-person, and hopefully his time in quarantine will feel like just a small hiccup in the course of the season. Although the production has plenty of protocols in place to keep everyone safe, even American Idol can't produce a season that feels totally normal under these circumstances.

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What happened on the most recent episode of 'American Idol'?

Although Lionel's virtual appearance on American Idol may have confused some viewers, it wasn't the only thing that caught people's attention during the most recent episode. The episode featured the 64 remaining contestants on the show as they attempted to prove that they deserved a spot in the top 24. The show didn't fill all of its spot in that lineup in the most recent episode. 

Source: Instagram
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The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with 10 of the spots in the top 24 having been filled. Two of the show's young, female contestants, Alanis Sophia and Casey Bishop, both performed and earned praise from the judges, but the episode ends before it's clear whether either of them will earn a spot in the top 24. That cliffhanger will have to be enough to propel viewers into the next episode when the rest of the top 24 will be decided. 

This is American Idol's second season dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The show also aired a stripped-down season last year, allowing its contestants to perform from home and crowning a winner in an almost entirely virtual setting. It was one of many competition series that had to adapt to the pandemic last year, and now, in its second pandemic season, it's been able to produce a more full-fledged season. 

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