After weeks of rumours, ABC has confirmed that country superstar Luke Bryan and iconic hitmaker Lionel Richie will round out the judging panel on the network’s upcoming revival of American Idol, with the two joining previously announced judge Katy Perry and host Ryan Seacrest, who’s returning to the role he served for 15 seasons when the show aired on Fox.
“I’m excited at the chance to help some deserving artists reach their dreams,” said Bryan in the announcement. “To be in a position in my career to help facilitate this along with the other judges is just a complete honour. It’s gonna be a blast!”
Bryan also shared the big news on Twitter, where he referred to Richie as “my hero.”
— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) September 29, 2017
“I am very excited to be joining Katy, Luke and Ryan on ‘American Idol,’” added Richie. “As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table. It’s going to be so much fun!”
Richie likewise shared the news with his Twitter followers:
— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) September 29, 2017
While Perry has yet to join in, Seacrest issued a joking tweet to his fellow Idol stars, asking, “So who wants to start the @AmericanIdol group chat?”
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) September 29, 2017
“Luke and Lionel are the perfect additions to round out our panel of judges for ‘American Idol’ on ABC,” declared ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey in a statement. “In their respective genres of music, both Luke and Lionel possess insurmountable popularity and award-winning talent that are undeniable, and we are lucky that they will help in paving the way for hopefuls pursuing their dreams on our stage.”
American Idol showrunner Trish Kinane added: “We have taken our time to get the right mix of amazing talent for the new Idol judging panel. Our viewers expect musical credibility, passion and a true concern for the contestants; and with Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie joining the brilliant Katy Perry, we have two more world-class musical powerhouses eager to get to work and identify the next generation of superstars.”
Prior to the midseason debut of Idol, Bryan, Richie and Perry will make their on-camera debut next week when they appear together for the first time on the Oct. 4 edition of Good Morning America.