The singing competition show kicks off its milestone season next month with longtime host Ryan Seacrest and judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryanall returning. ABC, which will air its fifth season of the franchise, released the first trailer for the special season on Wednesday during the virtual Television Critics Association winter press tour.
The two-minute trailer opens with a nostalgic look back at Idol success stories Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert, and asks the question, "What if they were never discovered?," as the trio of judges gear up to begin "a new search" for the next Idol.
It's the first glimpse of the aspiring singers from the new season hoping to get the coveted sendoff to Hollywood, with one of the hopefuls telling Perry, Richie and Bryan during his audition, "You know this is nerve-racking, right?"
The waterworks begin when a few of the contestants' harrowing stories are shared, including one who was bullied, one who went through "a lot" to reach this point and one who performed a song he used to sing to his late nephew, who died the previous year.
"I'm dedicating this to my nephew who passed away this past April," the Idol hopeful revealed to the judges. "Singing is my way of healing. The song that I'm going to sing today is the song that I used to sing all the time when I used to rock him to sleep." An emotional Perry could not stop the tears from flowing as she listened to his journey.
"Katy is an absolute wreck," Bryan said, as Perry tried to keep her emotions together.
And, it being the 20th season and all, Idol had to introduce a little extra incentive: the Platinum Ticket. As the trailer reveals, the Platinum Ticket is given by the judges to only one lucky contestant in each city. (This season, they visit places like Los Angeles and Austin.) Any recipient of the Platinum Ticket gets a straight shot to Hollywood Week (along with shortcuts), as the lucky singer at the end of the trailer learned from Perry.
Watch the emotional trailer for season 20 below.
American Idolpremieres Sunday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. For more, watch below.