American Idol is back with the hardest working man in showbusiness Ryan Seacrest

American Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry & Luke Bryan. (Photo courtesy ABC)

American Idol took an intermission after its 15-season run on Fox TV. Now ABC has brought the talent competition back with Ryan Seacrest, as host and producer, who squeezes the gig into his ultra-busy schedule.

Seacrest emphasized that the show is “America’s gold standard of music competitions.” The Emmy Award winning host was on hand during ABC interview session for American Idol at the Television Critics Association’s January press tour. The panel presented Seacrest, plus Idol’s judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie; also, executive producers Trish Kinane, Megan Michaels Wolflick, and Jen Mullin.

Why mess with success was Seacrest’s attitude when he was asked what would be different about the re-launch of American Idol? He said the three new judges “are different, obviously, because of their personalities. But the show, at its core, works in format and works in premise. We go out. We look for young, talented people. They see the judges. They will come back to Hollywood and then they’ll have to step up. I think there’s been a lot of talk about how is this show different. You’ve got three different faces. You have different contestants. But to change the show drastically in terms of format, I think, would be a mistake.”

Superstar pop singer Katy Perry is looking forward to discovering new talent and said, “I think these days it’s so hard to stand out. You have to, like, light yourself on fire on Instagram while singing. And you still might not get enough hits to really make sure that the song sticks. This launching pad gives such an advantage to all those people that need that spotlight.”

Perry believes in the platform so much that she gushed, “Literally, we are wasting our time if we do not find a star. You know, America doesn’t need another star. They need a real legit American Idol.”

Months ago, the Idol team set out in a 27-city wide search for America’s next superstar, and they’ll showcase the journey of the incredible talent this country has to offer on the American Idol stage over the next several months.

Why did super-busy music superstars Katy, Luke, and Lionel want to join the show?

Lionel Richie said his answer is very simple, it’s the teaching aspect to share his vast experience. “I’ve been offered many opportunities to put out something explaining songwriting or performance, or how do you deal with the press, or the pressure of the business? I thought about it and I said, ‘How many people are actually going to read it?’ Then I thought about Idol reaching people.”

Richie added, “The beautiful part is I love the judging. We’re artists, and we know exactly how to critique talent. So, all the things that I was going to put in my master class, I’m actually going to be able to tell the ‘students,’ in person. I consider myself the instructor basically.”

Katy Perry explained her job as a judge is “a real ‘pay it forward’ moment.” She said, “For me personally, American Idol and I have always been circling each other, and it just hasn’t been the right timing. Now after ten years and a lot of aging and learning, I can take all that information and really mentor and give constructive criticism, because that’s really what we do. We’re here to really find a star and, if someone isn’t a star, delicately help repurpose them on the path that’s going to be good for them.”

Luke Bryan reported it’s fun for him. “American Idol for me felt like it was going to be a blast. I’ve had the opportunity to do some TV stuff through the years and turned it down because I always focused on touring. And then American Idol called, and I jumped right on it. I judge and I watch this like a fan of music. I’m on the emotional ride with these kids. When they start singing and they are moving me emotionally, I get wrapped up in the moment. I get wrapped up in the pageantry and the dreams coming true.”

American Idol returns to airwaves on Sunday, March 11 at its new home on ABC.


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 30 years.

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