How to watch American Idol season 18 online

American Idol season 18 will premiere on Sunday, February 16 at 8 PM EST (5 PM PST). Presented by Ryan Seacrest, season 18 will see the return of judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie. Don’t want to miss out? We’ll explain how you can use a VPN to watch American Idol season 18 online even when traveling abroad.

In this article, we’ll only be recommending official sources for watching American Idol season 18. This is an extremely popular show which means there will likely be unlicensed streams. However, we don’t recommend you use these due to their inferior video quality. Unauthorized streams can even be taken offline for copyright infringement, causing you to miss out on the most important moments of American Idol season 18. Besides, there’s no need for unofficial sources as there’ll be various official streams available for you to enjoy.

American Idol season 18 will only be shown on region-locked platforms. To continue watching it abroad via your streaming services from back home, you’ll need to use a VPN.

How to watch American Idol season 18 online with a VPN

In case you’re wondering, a VPN allows you to change your IP address, making it appear as if you’re browsing from another location. One advantage of this is that you can then access geo-blocked content such as American Idol season 18.

Here’s how to watch American Idol season 18 online from anywhere:

  1. Sign up with a reputable VPN provider. We recommend ExpressVPN. However, NordVPN and CyberGhost are two great value alternatives worth considering.
  2. Download and install the appropriate VPN app or browser extension for your device (the device on which you plan to watch American Idol season 18).
  3. Sign in to the VPN app and connect to a server in the US. You’ll then be assigned a US IP address, allowing you to unblock ABC from anywhere in the world.
  4. Go to ABC and sign in with your TV provider. If you don’t have cable TV, you can sign up for a streaming service that offers ABC (more on these later).
  5. Select the ABC live stream on ABC or via your preferred streaming service. The content should be unblocked. If not, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies.

American Idol will air live on ABC. We recommend you test your VPN with ABC in advance to avoid disappointment. That way, you’ll still have time to contact your VPN’s customer support for further assistance if you have any trouble.

How to watch American Idol season 18 on US TV

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You can watch American Idol season 18 on ABC. If you already have a US cable TV subscription, all you need to do is sign in with your TV provider. This requires you to enter your cable TV login details (username or email address and password). You can then live stream American Idol at no extra cost.

Fortunately, you can also watch American Idol on ABC cable-free by signing up for one of the following streaming services: AT&T TV Now ($65 USD/month), Hulu with Live TV ($54.99/month), or YouTube TV ($49.99/month). ABC and the aforementioned streaming services are region-locked and only available in the US.

However you choose to watch ABC, you can watch it abroad by connecting to a VPN’s US server. This will get you a US IP address, allowing you to bypass regional blocking. ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. As such, you can try it out with ABC and request a full refund if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

Where else can I watch American Idol season 18?

American Idol has fans all over the world. However, live broadcasts are few and far between which makes ABC one of the best options for watching the season 18 premiere. Here are some of the main alternatives to consider:


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One of the few live broadcasts of American Idol outside the US will be on CTV in Canada. However, it’s important to know that in order to watch American Idol season 18 live on CTV, you’ll need to sign in with your TV provider.

Newer on-demand episodes are available to watch without signing in. However, after a few weeks, you’ll have to sign in with your cable provider details in order to watch. As you might expect, CTV content is region-locked and only available in Canada. This is easily solved by connecting to a VPN server in Canada and getting a Canadian IP address.


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In 2019, Netflix UK released American Idol season 17 episodes on a weekly basis. Each episode was made available on Tuesday, following their Sunday night airing on ABC. According to Netflix UK, American Idol ‘Collection 2’ is coming on Tuesday, February 18. As such, you’ll be able to watch American Idol season 18 on Netflix UK, albeit two days after its live broadcast.

A Netflix UK subscription starts from £5.99 a month and comes with a 30-day free trial. However, the platform is geo-blocked and its content changes from one country to another. To stream American Idol when traveling abroad, a UK IP address is required. You can get one by connecting to a VPN server in the UK.

What should I know about American Idol season 18?

American Idol is a highly popular show that first aired on Fox in 2002. Since 2018, American Idol has aired on ABC. Over the years, the show has launched the careers of Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, and Kelly Clarkson.

In season 18, we can expect to see the return of the show’s host Ryan Seacrest as well as judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie. Bobby Bones returns as the in-house mentor. The season 18 premiere kicks off on Sunday, February 16 at 8 PM EST with a two-hour episode of auditions.