The Top 20 American Idol Season 18 contestants are finding ways to support each other, and to get the support they need from the show's judges and crew, despite being quarantined in many separate locations due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The aspiring stars admit that their experience on the TV singing competition has been, not surprisingly, nothing like they expected, but they're bonded together forever because of it.

"We all go on Zoom calls, we all FaceTime each other, we all have our own group chat where we literally just hype each other up and tell each other like good luck," Lauren Spencer-Smith told the Boot and other media members during a conference call after the season's first "live" episode aired on Sunday night (April 26). "I feel like everyone in the Top 20 right now really is a family, and we’re all going to be friends for life, and everyone is just so supportive with everyone."

Getting to know the other contestants during their time in Hollywood and Hawaii helped foster those connects, Faith Becnel points out, as has navigating their Idol experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I think that’s brought us even closer," she adds. "It’s been a really rare experience."

On Sunday night (May 4), American Idol's Season 18 Top 20 will be cut down to a Top 10, eliminating half of the remaining contestants just one week into the from-home performance rounds. Of course, all 20 of the singers are hoping one of those 10 spots belongs to them, but, Becnel adds, they're each so different that the competition hasn't felt overly competitive.

"It’s more just everyone supporting how unique and amazing each of us are," she reflects, "and that’s what I love about this competition show: It feels like a family ... We love each other, and I think that we’ve all built great relationships, and I can’t wait to see how far everybody goes in their own unique ways."

The American Idol crew has also stepped up to give each contestant a memorable experience and an equal playing field despite the logistical challenges, the Top 20 artists agree. Showrunners sent each of the contestants identical packages of gear to help them give their performances and get their critiques from the judges, who are also working out of their homes, and the show's crew, from the tech team to the makeup artists and wardrobe consultants, have been in contact to assist from afar.

American Idol's almost-live at-home rounds will continue for the foreseeable future. The show airs on Sundays at 8PM ET.

See the Top 20 Finalists on American Idol Season 18:

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