If there’s one kind of show on television that will never die, it’s the singing competition. But despite their abundance today, few of them have etched themselves as deeply into pop culture as American Idol has—iconic not just for launching the careers of new musical artists, but for cementing names, from its judges to its mentors, into the fold of Hollywood. And, well, it gave us Ryan Seacrest.
After 15 seasons, one cancellation, and a speedy revival, American Idol is officially back this year. And it’s here with three music industry forces on the judges’ panel: Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. With over 300,000 audition video posts from hopefuls, they’re taking on the challenge in helping America determine who to vote for to become the next singing sensation.
“I am honored and thrilled,” says Grammy- and Emmy-nominated music star Katy Perry, “to be the first judge bringing back the American Idol tradition of making dreams come true for incredible talents with authentic personalities and real stories.” Dubbed the dark horse among the three judges, Perry lends her experiences as a global pop star whose music has consistently topped the charts over the years.
Widely known for mega-hits such as “Endless Love,” “Lady,” “Truly,” and “We Are the World,” written with Michael Jackson, all-around powerhouse Lionel Richie will also be lending his decades’ worth of knowledge of the industry to the show. “As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table,” he says. “It’s going to be so much fun!”
Rounding out the panel with an alternative perspective not quite so geared toward the world of pop is two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan.
American Idol returns on ETC starting March 12, Mondays and Tuesdays via satellite at 6pm and on primetime at 8pm.