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How to Watch 'American Idol' 2023: Stream Season 21 From Anywhere

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan are back on the hunt for a new singing sensation.

From Jennifer Hudson to Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, American Idol has launched a string of big-name careers, and season 21 already looks on course to unearth another singing superstar.

The latest season of the long-running reality show is now up and running and once again sees CNET alum Ryan Seacrest on hosting duties, with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and soul legend Lionel Richie all returning to the judging panel.

Alongside virtual auditions, open-call events were held in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Nashville late last year for this season, so expect a steady flow of country-singing hopefuls looking to replicate the success of last year's winner Noah Thompson.

The new season has already seen some potential break-out stars, with 21-year-old valet Tanner Charles' self-penned song for his onlooking girlfriend getting a unanimous three yeses from the judges, while pitch-perfect performances from neurodiverse contestant Adin Boyer and inspiring car-crash survivor Elijah McCormick both earned them golden tickets to Hollywood. 

Catch every audition by following our guide to watching American Idol 2023 from anywhere in the world.

American Idol Season 21 judges Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry Luke Bryan and host Ryan Seacrest standing in front of a casino table.

From left, Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Ryan Seacrest will be hoping they strike it lucky in Vegas as they go in search of more singing talent for American Idol season 21.


When is American Idol 2023 broadcast?

American Idol season 21 premiered in the US on Feb. 19. New episodes arrive every Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, with each episode available to stream the following day after broadcast on Hulu. 

How to watch American Idol 2023 from anywhere on VPN

So what if you're traveling outside your home country and want to enjoy the show or want an added layer of privacy for streaming? There is an option that doesn't require searching the internet for a sketchy website: You can use a VPN, or virtual private network.

With a VPN, you're able to virtually change your location on your phone, tablet or laptop to get access to the show. If you find yourself unable to watch locally, a VPN can come in handy. Plus it's a great idea for when you're traveling and find yourself connected to a Wi-Fi network and want to add an extra layer of privacy for your devices and logins.

Most VPNs, like CNET's Editors' Choice, ExpressVPN, make it easy to virtually change your location. Looking for other options? Be sure to check out some of the other great VPN deals.

Sarah Tew/CNET

ExpressVPN is our current best VPN pick for people who want a reliable and safe VPN, and it works on a variety of devices. It's normally $13 per month. But you can save 49% plus get three months of access for free -- the equivalent of $6.67 per month -- if you get an annual subscription. 

Note that ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Watch in the US

There are numerous live TV streaming services available in the US that carry ABC live, allowing you to watch American Idol as soon as it airs on Sundays, and YouTube TV is our favorite. It costs $65 a month. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.


ABC will be showing American Idol in the US for the sixth year in a row. That also means episodes will be available to stream on Hulu every Monday, one day after they air on ABC.

New Hulu subscribers can take advantage of a Hulu free trial for 30 days on its With-Ads or No-Ads plan. After the trial ends, the service will set you back $8 a month. There's also the option of the Disney Plus bundle with Hulu thrown in from $10 a month.

Watch in Canada


The great news for Canadian reality TV fans is that Citytv is airing new episodes of American Idol 2023 at the same time they go out in the US -- that's 8 p.m. ET/PT every Sunday. 

If you miss an episode when it goes out live, you can stream each episode for free on Citytv's online platform a day after they air, however you'll need to enter your TV provider details.

Can I watch American Idol Season 21 in the UK?

There's currently no confirmed broadcaster for this latest season of the TV talent show in the UK, however we suspect that like season 20, this new run of the show will eventually find its way to Netflix

Tips for streaming American Idol 2023 using a VPN

  • With four variables at play -- your ISP, browser, video streaming provider and VPN -- experience and success may vary.
  • If you don't see your desired location as a default option for ExpressVPN, try using the "search for city or country" option.
  • If you're having trouble viewing after you've turned on your VPN and set it to the correct viewing area, there are two things you can try for a quick fix. First, log in to your streaming service subscription account and make sure the address registered for the account is an address in the correct viewing area. If not, you may need to change the physical address on file with your account. Second, some smart TVs -- like Roku -- don't have VPN apps you can install directly on the device itself. Instead, you'll have to install the VPN on your router or the mobile hotspot you're using (like your phone) so that any device on its Wi-Fi network now appears in the correct viewing location.
  • All of the VPN providers we recommend have helpful instructions on their main site for quickly installing the VPN on your router. In some cases with smart TV services, after you install a network's app, you'll be asked to verify a numeric code or click a link sent to your email address on file for your smart TV. This is where having a VPN on your router will also help, since both devices will appear to be in the correct location. 
  • And remember, browsers can often give away a location despite using a VPN, so be sure you're using a privacy-first browser to log into your services. We normally recommend Brave.