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How to watch American Idol online: stream season 18 live from anywhere

watch American Idol 2020 online
(Image credit: Josh Vertucci/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

With the 18th season of American Idol about to reach its conclusion, the hope is that another epic new talent will be revealed right before our eyes. We're sure you've been hooked on this year's contest so we're here to tell you how to watch American Idol 2020 from wherever you are in the world - don't miss the live final.

American Idol 2020 cheat sheet

American Idol first debuted back in 2002, when the judging panel included the likes of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. This year marks the third year that the show will air on American TV network ABC and it now enjoys a regular slot of 8pm ET/PT on Sunday nights.

Frankly, everyone should know how to watch American Idol 2020 live - no questions asked. The trendsetting TV show has previously unearthed stars like Grammy-winners Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson - plus Adam Lambert.

Ryan Seacreast once again hosts the singing competition, and this year he's joined by a star-studded panel of judges featuring chart topper Katy Perry, all-around legend Lionel Ritchie, and country music icon Luke Bryan. Media personality Bobby Bones also returns in his role as mentor to the contestants.

Read on to discover how to watch American Idol online live and stream new episodes every Sunday no matter where you are in the world.

How to watch American Idol online from outside your country

As its name might suggest, American Idol is...well, an American show. But fear not, it's easy to watch American Idol live in 2020 even if you're out of the country and there isn't local TV coverage. The solution is to download a VPN, which allows you to get around pesky geo-blocking restrictions and watch American Idol online from pretty much anywhere. 

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a simple (and completely legal) bit of software kit that changes your IP address so that you can access episodes of shows like American Idol live or on demand, as they become available - just like you would if you were at home.

Choosing a VPN can be hard, as there are literally hundreds of competing applications vying for a place on your computer or mobile device. We've done the hard work, though, and after testing all of the most popular Virtual Private Networks can wholeheartedly recommend ExpressVPN as the best in the world right now.

It's fast, simple, and straightforward to install. Plus, it's compatible with a whole host of devices, including Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, iOS and Android software. Better still, ExpressVPN's flexible 30-day money back guarantee means you can check it out for yourself, no strings attached. If you like it or know you need a top-notch VPN in your life, a limited-time deal lets you purchase an annual ExpressVPN plan and get 3 months extra FREE – a saving of nearly 50% on what our experts rate as an essential bit of software.

Once installed, simply select the location of your home country and simply click connect. You’ll then be privy to all the live American Idol 2020 action, no matter where in the world you are.

How to watch American Idol 2020 online for free in the US

American Idol 2020 airs live on ABC every Sunday night at 8pm ET/PT - to avoid confusion, the show goes live at the same time across all US time zones. That means that many cable subscribers can make use of the network's convenient ABC Go App and watch American Idol - and countless other ABC shows - for free whenever and wherever they want. Supported devices include iPhoneAndroidAmazon Fire TVApple TVRoku and many more.

From a purely streaming perspective, Hulu Live is a great option. If you're not currently a Hulu user, it costs just $5.99 per month to subscribe with limited ads or $11.99 per month for no commercials — and you can take advantage of a free Hulu trial to see if it's right for you.

There are also other TV streaming services like AT&T Now that should give you access to ABC shows like American Idol and a whole lot more content as well. 

Here's a quick rundown of the main options - just remember that if you already subscribe to one of these services or normally have access to ABC on your TV at home, all you need is a good VPN and you can watch American Idol 2020 live just like you would from your sofa - and our top pick, Express VPN, will give you 3-months free if you sign up for an annual deal

  • Hulu + Live TV: One basic plan with over 65 channels and On Demand content for $54.99 p/m. Numerous add-ons are available. Check to see if ABC is available in your area. If you can't stream it live, episodes of The Bachelor are online to watch the day after the program airs.
  • AT&T Now: Has numerous plans, the cheapest being $65 p/m for over 40 channels, which includes ABC as well as HBO. As ABC is only available in select markets you should check to ensure you have access to the channel's live stream.
  • YouTube TV: $44.99 for over 70 channels. Episodes of The Bachelor can be watched On Demand and live, though double check ABC is available to stream in your area by entering your zip code.

Watch American Idol 2020 online in Canada: free live stream details

Canada's CTV is your one-stop shop for watching American Idol north of the border. It airs the show live on Sundays at 8pm ET and coverage can be easily accessed via its website for free. If you're on the move, the CTV app has your American Idol live stream needs covered and is available for a number of platforms including Android, iOS, Xbox One, Samsung Smart TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices.

If this is how you would normally watch American Idol but you find yourself outside of the country during the next episode, don't forget you can get a great value VPN deal and enjoy the coverage you normally would when you chill out on a Sunday with a nice cold Moosehead

How to watch American Idol 2020: live online stream guide for the UK

While the show is available to watch on Netflix, it won't come to the popular streaming platform for a full TWO DAYS after its original air date in the US.

If you've already got a Netflix subscription, then it's certainly an option. But anyone from North American travelling or holidaying the UK should remember they can tap into their local TV coverage and watch American Idol live by using a VPN.

How to watch American Idol season 18: Live stream American Idol 2020 online 

Equally bad news, Aussie mates - Foxtel dropped the rights to air the popular talent show Down Under after season 17, so we don't know of any way to watch American Idol in Australia live.

Or rather, the only method that comes to mind is using a VPN as discussed above. So it would be a case of signing up for and logging in to a service that shows it elsewhere (e.g. Hulu, Netflix, etc) and then using a VPN to virtually relocate yoru IP address to that country so you can watch as if you were there.