American Idol season 18 premiere date hopes; will judging panel return?

American IdolWhile we know entering tonight’s finale that there will be an American Idol season 18, there are still a number of other questions about it … and that includes when it’s going to be back.

We’ll be the first to admit that we miss the days when the competition was a little bit longer then it is now. In the old days on Fox — you know, back when this show was the #1 series on all TV — it would run from January until around now, and you would get a real chance to get to know every single contestant who was part of the show. That’s one of the reasons why some of the original winners were able to have such sustained careers — you really got to know them and become invested in them. Nobody in season 17 has anywhere near that much backstory — we’re lucky to really have a few top-tier performances from all of them in the limited amount of time that they’re on TV.

American Idol season 18 will likely premiere in March next year, mostly because there are so few opportunities for ABC to launch it beforehand. Sundays in February are spent mostly cycling through the Super Bowl and a wide array of different awards shows. That’s a pattern that we don’t foresee changing, and we don’t think the network’s so silly to want the show airing opposite any of that sort of stuff. The Sunday after the Oscars, whenever that may be, is the most reasonable premiere date (we do wish that there was a chance to actually extend the show so that it could last a little bit longer than this, but we get that they want to end it before Labor Day) it’s the end of May sweeps, otherwise known as the time networks tend to make the most money.

If you want to preview tonight’s finale with a video discussion, take a look at our video below of the final three! After you check this out, we suggest that you subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube and take a look at our full series playlist. It’s the best way to make sure you don’t miss any other updates.

Will all of the judges return?

There’s been a lot of talk about this already, with one of the prevailing headlines being that there is interest in getting Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie, and Luke Bryan back. It’s all really about finding a way to afford them all. With the ratings for season 17 down versus the one before, trying to find a way to get all three without a pay cut somewhere is a tight squeeze — we at least know that Bryan wants to come back, judging from what he told Taste of Country in a new interview:

“Love that a third season is on the way … All things feel positive that me and Lionel and Katy will be back. We’re doing the business of the business.”

One of the things that has actually been quite lovely about this new era of American Idol is that even though all of the judges have a very different sense of musical background, there’s a real feeling that they enjoy each other. There hasn’t been any rumors of diva behavior or issues behind the scenes. We’re really just looking at three different people who enjoy being around each other. That gives us hope that, if the dollar-signs align, we will continue to see all three judges as a part of this show. Sure, they’re imperfect and they refuse to offer great criticism much of the time, but that feels like more of a producer mandate than anything else.

What do you want to see from American Idol season 18?

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