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How to watch American Idol 2020 online: Finale start time, channel

How to watch American Idol 2020 finale online
(Image credit: ABC)
American Idol 2020 start time, channel

The American Idol 2020 finale starts at 8 p.m. Eastern today (Sunday, May 17) on ABC.

When we watch American Idol 2020 online tonight, we will witness the first-ever remote finale in the reality singing competition's history. This American Idol 2020 finale should be a memorable one, if only for its unique format. 

American Idol 2020 was forced to adapt the competition after the pandemic shut down Hollywood film and TV productions. Idol has aired remotely since late April, with contestants and judges filming from home. Performances were taped in advance, but the judges' reactions and voting results aired live. 

The American Idol 2020 finale will start with the Top 7 contestants: Julia Gargano, Arthur Gunn, Dillon James, Just Sam, Louis Knight, Francisco Martin and Jonny West. Two of then will be eliminated based on last week's vote. 

The Top 5 will perform two songs — the first will celebrate making it to celebrate making it to the last round and the second will be a song they previously performed this season. Real-time voting during the live East Coast broadcast will determine the show's results. Then, the American Idol 2020 winner will debut their new official single. 

The finale will also feature performances from judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan as well as top musical artists including Oscar-nominated singer and actress Cynthia Erivo. She'll cover Aretha Franklin hits with this year's Top 11. Grammy winner Lauren Daigle will present her hit "You Say" alongside the Top 5, and The Rascal Flatts and Doug Kiker will team up to perform "Bless The Broken Road.

Bryan and Perry will each sing their respective singles "One Margarita" and "Daisies." Meanwhile, Richie is performing "We Are The World" for the first time on TV in 35 years with the help of his fellow judges and Idol alums Alejandro Aranda (aka Scarypoolparty), Gabby Barrett, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Laine Hardy, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Ruben Studdard, and Scotty McCreery.

Here's everything you need to know about how to watch American Idol 2020 finale online.

How to watch American Idol 2020 online anywhere, with a VPN

Just because ABC isn't available everywhere doesn't mean Americans need to miss the American Idol 2020 finale if they're away from home. Watching along with the rest of the internet can be pretty easy with the right VPN (virtual private network), you can stream the show from wherever you go.

We've evaluated many VPN services, and our top pick is ExpressVPN. It meets the VPN needs of the vast majority of users, offering outstanding compatibility with most devices and impressive connection speeds. It's also affordable at $12.95 per month. (Signing up for longer periods of six months or a year reduces the cost even more.)


Our favorite VPN service, ExpressVPN, really shines thanks to its safety, speed and simplicity-to-use. It's also compatible with loads of devices - from iOS and Android to Roku, Apple TV and PlayStations. You'll even get an extra 3 months free if you sign up for a year, or there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you just want to give it a try.

How to watch American Idol 2020 finale in the US

For American viewers, the American Idol 2020 finale will air today (May 17) at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC. The broadcast network is available if you have an antenna or cable subscription. Yes, Idol left Fox. We're as surprised as you are.

If you've cut the cord, you can watch the American Idol 2020 finale live on several live TV streaming services, including Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV and AT&T TV Now.

Of these options, we recommend Hulu, which also offers original programming like High Fidelity and Little Fires Everywhere. It's also got a 1-week free trial. YouTube TV is better for those who want to record everything, as it's got an unlimited Cloud DVR. We do not recommend AT&T TV Now.

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV streams more than 65 channels, including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC as well as top cable networks like ESPN, Bravo, CNN, FX, Syfy and TBS. And it includes regular Hulu, which comes with a vast library of movies and TV shows as well as award-winning originals like The Handmaid's Tale. Hulu's Live TV service is currently offering a 1-week free trial.

How to watch the American Idol 2020 finale in Canada

Canadians, you're in luck! You can watch the American Idol 2020 finale at the same day and time as the US airing: Sunday, May 17 at 8 p.m. on CTV and on the CTV App.

How to watch the American Idol 2020 finale in the UK

The good news is that Brits can watch the American Idol 2020 finale on Netflix UK. The bad news is that it won't be available until two days after the US airing.

If you're an American abroad in the UK and don't want to miss the finale episode, check out ExpressVPN.

How to watch the American Idol 2020 finale in Australia

Sorry, Aussies, no Australian channel carries American Idol 2020. If you want to watch with the rest of the world, be sure to look into ExpressVPN.

Kelly Woo
Kelly Woo

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.