American Idol’s top nine are heading to Disney World, but fans see the trip as reckless. They fear a COVID-19 exposure will derail season 19.
The top nine contestants on American Idol may be heading to Disney World, but some COVID-conscious viewers aren’t thrilled about their trip to the “happiest place on earth.” Since the singing competition’s 2018 reboot on ABC, it has been a tradition to send the finalists to the Florida theme park or California’s Disneyland to help them prepare for the annual “Disney Night.” It’s a highly-coveted opportunity for the young artists. However, many fans are enraged over the show’s confusing safety protocols. While water bottles are allegedly scarce on set to deter mask removal, the network feels it’s safe to send the group across the country to a public theme park.
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After the latter half of season 18 went virtual last year due to the pandemic, American Idol returned to the stage for season 19 with a number of precautions in place. Judges and contestants must stay socially distant, the infamous “group round” was transformed into duets and, backstage, strict measures have been implemented to ensure those masks stay on. Recently eliminated contestant Beane shared water bottles aren’t always accessible on set because face coverings would have to be removed to drink. Additionally, hugging is apparently prohibited, although a few quick embraces have taken place.
Following Sunday’s top nine reveal, the gang donned their Mickey ears and boarded a flight to Disney World. Fans on Reddit expressed their displeasure. One said, “I was stunned when they mentioned this while the rest of us are trapped in our houses, unable to go anywhere.” Another added, “Let’s just send our contests to Florida, where they make pretend COVID is non-existent. Not to mention send them into the parks that see tens of thousands of people a day … talk about the possibility of exposure being endless.” Several suggested a private experience in Disneyland, which has yet to reopen to the public: “It’s been closed over a year so the possibility of exposure would be MUCH lower.”
With American Idol finally back to some sort of normal, many viewers are fearful that contestants will contract or be exposed to COVID-19 at Disney World, forcing a return to virtual performances. Anything is possible, but it’s unlikely the network would put them in a dangerous situation. Strict health and safety measures will surely be in place from both the network and Disney World, which continues to operate at a limited capacity.
It’s also unlikely the contestants would willingly put themselves – and their future careers – at risk by not taking proper precautions. They’ve come too far to be stuck in quarantine, especially with the prospect of a season 18 favorite joining their ranks. A handful of last year’s finalists, who had to perform from their living rooms and garages, will compete for America’s vote. One will round out the top 10 and enjoy the full American Idol experience.
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