The search for the next American Idol is back on as the series has returned for its third season on ABC and 18th season overall. The format is essentially the same though and once again the show's judges will discover talented voices from all over the country to see who can become America's next singing sensation.
Singers Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan will all be returning for their third season as judges and radio personality and comedian Bobby Bones will return as the show's in-house mentor. Executive producer of American Idol, Ryan Seacrest will also reprise his role as the show's host, a position he's held since the singing competition first debuted 18 years ago.
While American Idol will mostly follow the same format as it has in previous years, there is a new twist this season which will likely appeal to fans of The Voice. In a promo for the latest season of the show, Lionel Richie revealed that there will be head to head duets during Hollywood Week. Hollywood Week is the round that takes place following auditions and it can be quite difficult for American Idol contestants as they have to perform on their own as well as in groups. The concept of head to head duets sounds quite similar to the Battles that take place after auditions on The Voice but will have to wait and see if this is the case.
Season 18 of American Idol began on February 16th with the first round of auditions but we still have two more rounds to go before Hollywood Week kicks off on March 16th.
Read on for all the details on how to get a live stream of every episode of American Idol season 18 from anywhere in the world online.
American Idol Season 18: Where and when?
American Idol airs on ABC every Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Each episode runs for about an hour and a half but with commercials, the show ends at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Watch American Idol online from outside your country
We have all the details on how American Idol fans can watch the show in the U.S., Canada, the UK and Australia further down in this guide. However, if you want to watch season 18 of American Idol when you're away from home, then you'll run into problems as your domestic coverage online from abroad will likely be geo-blocked.
This is where a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can really come in handy. They allow you to virtually change the IP address of your laptop, tablet or mobile to one that's back in your home country which will let you watch as if you were back there.
VPNs are incredibly easy to use and they come with the added benefit of providing you with an additional layer of security when surfing the web. There are a lot of options out there but we recommend ExpressVPN as our top pick due to its speed, security and ease of use. The service can even be used on a wide array of operating systems and devices (e.g. iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, Roku, game consoles, etc). Sign up for ExpressVPN now and enjoy a 49% discount and 3 months FREE with an annual subscription. You can even test it out for yourself thanks to the service's 30-day money back guarantee.
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How to watch American Idol online in the U.S. exclusively on ABC
If you want to watch season 18 of American Idol on TV in the U.S. you can do so on ABC as the network airs new episodes every Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. You can also stream the show live online on your computer via ABC's website or on iOS, Android or smart devices by downloading the ABC Go app. While you can watch episodes that have already aired for free online on here, you will need to login using the credentials from your cable provider to watch American Idol live as well as the show's most recent episode.
If you want to watch American Idol live without having to sign up for cable, you could get an over-the-air antenna to watch it on your TV but signing up for a streaming service to watch it online is likely the more convenient option. We've listed a few of our favorite streaming services that will give you access to ABC below to make things easier for you.
- Hulu with Live TV - $44.99 per month - Hulu with Live TV gives you access to ABC in most areas as well as 66 other live TV channels. You can also watch the service's own Hulu Originals and record up to 50 hours of live TV using its Cloud DVR storage.
- YouTube TV - $49.99 per month - YouTube TV lets you watch over 70 channels online including ABC in most areas and you can record up to 9 months of content using its DVR feature. The service also allows you to create up to six accounts to share your plan with your family and three streams can be watched simultaneously.
- AT&T TV Now - $65 per month - AT&T TV Now is the most expensive way to get access to ABC but this is because your plan also includes a subscription to HBO. The service allows you to watch over 45 TV channels and you can record up to 20 hours of content using its cloud DVR.
Hulu with Live TV is a great overall option
In addition to giving you access to ABC (in select areas) so you can easily keep up with American Idol this season, Hulu with Live TV also lets you watch over 60 other channels and a library of on-demand TV shows and movies. You get a personal DVR to record shows for later and can access the streaming platform from a variety of devices including your phone, tablet, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox and more.
Watch the singers battle their way to be the next American Idol in real-time with Hulu. Once you're done with American Idol, you can check out other shows like The Voice, Survivor, and more.
Live stream American Idol live in Canada
Canadian American Idol fans can easily watch season 18 of the show on CTV as the network airs the show live CTV Two on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. You can also stream the show live online for free or even watch past episodes by going to CTV's website or by using the CTV app on iOS, Android and your favorite streaming devices.
Also remember that you can use a VPN to watch American Idol online if you're traveling outside of Canada and don't want to miss an episode.
How to stream American Idol in the UK
If you want to watch American Idol in the UK then you'll need a Netflix subscription as new episodes are made available on the streaming service every Tuesday. Unfortunately, this is two days after new episodes air in the U.S.
For those who are already Netflix UK subscribers, this is the easiest option. However, if you're a North American who happens to be traveling in the UK, remember that you can use a VPN to watch your local coverage of American Idol while abroad.
Watch American Idol in Australia
While Foxtel had the rights to show American Idol in Australia last season, unfortunately the network didn't renew the rights to show season 18 of the show. This means that there is no official option to watch American Idol in Australia this season but another broadcaster could end up picking up the rights to the series in the future.
To watch American Idol in Australia, you'll need to use a VPN and sign up for one of the streaming services listed above to get access to ABC to watch the show.
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