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As people across the country continue to stay inside their homes in an effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the hit reality singing competition made the choice to forge ahead with the remainder of its season by having the contestants appear from their homes. On Sunday, it aired the first of these remote episodes by finally revealing which of the season's two country girls would move on to the top 20.
"During this uncertain time, we’re committed to bringing some sense of normalcy, some sense of community and hope, through the stories of our contestants," Seacrest explained at the start of the "American Idol: This Is Me" special (via Yahoo Entertainment).
"And their journey is about to take a historic turn, because next Sunday, this competition will continue as the top 20 compete for your vote with epic performances," the host added.
While April 26 will mark the first night of performances broadcast from the contestants’ homes, Sunday’s results show gave fans a taste of how the drama will play out without the typical giant stage and live audience that they're used to.
Eventually, a nervous Seacrest revealed that Leer was the one who will be advancing to the next round. After a bit of celebrating with her mother at home, the winner took a moment to speak to Mascitti, noting how difficult it was in that moment to not be next to her.
"I wish I could hug you! I love you! I love you so much. I’m going to make country proud, I promise," Leer said through tears.
Yahoo reports that the episode ended by giving viewers a quick peek at some of the top 20 performances that will air during next week’s episode, noting that they varied heavily in terms of quality, prompting questions about whether or not contestants will have a fair shake based solely on their singing prowess rather than the quality of the video technology available from their house.
However, Seacrest seemed to anticipate those questions, closing out Sunday’s broadcast saying: "We are determined to stay on the air from home, in the safest possible way."