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I've done this in the past, and never had any problems. I have the latest version of Zoom (it asked to upgrade the experience and I said yes).
Under invitations, I click edit beside 'invite panellists' and get the option to add people. I do this, click send, but nothing happens and they are not saved as a participant, and don't receive an email.
Am I missing something?
ahh... found out why - a person cannot be a panellist and alternative host; if they are already set up as an alternative host and are then on the list of panellists being entered, none of the panellists will be accepted. If you do it the other way round (i.e. enter them as a panellist and then try to add them as an alternative host) you get a warning; but if you set them up first as an alternative host and then add them as a panellist there is no warning - just failure!
Yes, Zoom is terrible at this. Similar thing happens when someone is added as a panelist already and you try and input the same e-mail-address as a participant. The API endpoint returns a participation link and a success response code but actually just silently drops the registration, the link it returns is invalid.
So you have to be careful about your registrations as different roles in the webinar, Zoom will often not be helpful at all in its error handling with duplicate registrations.