Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘American Idol’ returns Sunday, shining a spotlight on Coeur d’Alene

Host Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol” chats with some local media by a pair of Coeur d’Alene Resort cruise boats parked at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. The second round of auditions filmed in Coeur d’Alene. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Coeur d’Alene is about to get its moment in the national spotlight.

Beginning Sunday, scenes from the Lake City will be beamed across America as the long-running television talent show “American Idol” returns.

The series, which spent more than a decade on Fox before being rebooted for ABC last year, filmed a round of judge auditions in Coeur d’Alene over two days in October. Setting up shop at the Hagadone Events Center at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course, and with a commanding view of Tubbs Hill and the famed floating golf green, “Idol” judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan saw dozens of wannabe singing stars who dreamed of earning a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Coeur d’Alene was one of several stops “Idol” made for the judge auditions, where contestants who had advanced out of open auditions and past producers got their first chance to perform in front of judges. Coeur d’Alene played host to roughly 70 contestants who hailed from all over. Other cities visited were New York City, Denver, Los Angeles and Louisville, Kentucky.

In an interview in October, “American Idol” supervising producer Patrick Lynn, who has been with the show from its start on Fox in 2002, said bringing the show to different communities is something he loves doing. After looking at places in Seattle and Tacoma, he opted for something a little different in Coeur d’Alene.

“We hadn’t seen anything we liked yet,” he said. “So we came and saw it, and it was like, ‘How can you say no?’ Seriously, this is one of those things we look for. We’ve never been to a place like this, and you can’t get enough of this. This is America.”

Sunday’s premiere will run from 8-10 p.m. and will take viewers on a “nationwide journey starting with the shows’ famed judge auditions,” including Coeur d’Alene, according to a news release. On Wednesday from 8-10 p.m., the action will center on auditions filmed in Coeur d’Alene, Louisville and Los Angeles. Promotional materials from producers promise high drama: “This audition episode features two of the most powerful auditions in Idol history, one bringing the judges to tears and the other leaving them speechless.”

Episode three, to air at 8 p.m. March 10, will also include scenes from Coeur d’Alene, and, as the news release reads, “a not-to-be-missed original song that will move audiences to tears, the return of a fan favorite from last season, Lionel Richie’s walk down memory lane and a surprise dance move by Katy Perry.”

Members of the Coeur d’Alene High School marching band got their chance before the judges as well during the taping. They played the classic Commodores hit “Brick House” as Richie – who wrote the song with his former Commodores bandmates – Perry and Bryan walked up the steps from the lakeshore to the events center. Earlier, the 54 members of the band played the school fight song as Perry, holding her dog Nugget, danced along, then chatted with students for a couple of minutes.