What the New ‘American Idol’ Platinum Ticket Actually Does for a Contestant (Video)

One step above show’s golden ticket, shiny prop is fresh for Season 20

Golden tickets are so Season 19. On the upcoming 20th season of ABC’s “American Idol,” nine platinum tickets — three in Nashville, three in Austin and three in Los Angeles — were given out during the popular audition rounds. But what do those actually do for a contestant? We got some details on Wednesday during the show’s Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour panel.

As judge Katy Perry explained: “This ticket gives them the ability to go to Hollywood Week, which we’ve already filmed and was so rigorous and survival of the fittest, and they get to basically observe from the box seats at the theater — one day, they get to rest their voice, strategize, check out the competition and select who they want to duet with.”

“They get a tiny advantage because they’re the cream of the crop,” she added.

In recent seasons, it was the judges who set up the duets.

The judges were generally unanimous about the recipients of the platinum tickets.

“For me, it was just the fact that they’re just naturals,” Lionel Richie explained. “Some people walk out and they’re stars, they have all the boxes ticked: stage presence, delivery, their sound, their style. They have it all there so that when they open their mouths you know exactly who they are as artists. It just rings that bell. And when that happens you just give them the platinum ticket as fast as you can.”

Luke Bryan is the third returning judge for “American Idol” Season 20. Ryan Seacrest is again back as host. Former mentor Bobby Bones is not returning this year.

Watch a few of the new V.I.P. (kind of) passes get handed out via the teaser above.

“American Idol” Season 20 premieres Feb. 27, 2022 on ABC at 8 p.m.