She and Idol had been circling each other for some time before she said yes to the reboot of the series that previously aired on Fox, ending that 15-season run in 2016.
Appearing at an Idol Q&A during TCA on Monday, Lionel Richie said he has been offered the opportunity to make videos or write books sharing his music-industry expertise across his long career. “Then I got the call” to do Idol, he said. Even so, his initial reaction was “nah,” he said, but relented when he realized to how many people he would get to impart his knowledge.
Only judge Luke Bryan said that he’d always thought Idol would be a blast to be part of and that it was “never a moment’s thought for me whether to say yes or no.”
“I remember being inspired by it as a young musician, but the main thing I remember was when Carrie Underwood rolled into Nashville,” he enthused.
“It would have been awesome to start with that platform,” Bryan gushed.
Perry insisted the judges are “secondary” to finding an “actual Idol and making the good old American Dream come to life.”
“It’s a beautiful story,” she said, adding that “America needs these stories right now to inspire.”
“American Idol has come full circle, this big platform to separate what’s good and what isn’t,” she said, adding, “These days you have to light yourself on fire on Instagram while singing” in order to break out in the industry “and still might not get enough hits.”
One TV critic challenged the three new judges to name the last three winners of the competition’s run on Fox and wondered what they can do to reverse the trend. None of them accepted that challenge, Perry instead responded: “This is the first season of American Idol.”
“Literally we are wasting our time if we’re not going to find another Idol,” she added. “America does not need another star; they need another legitimate American Idol. It’s a crowded place and I take it really seriously, sometimes to my detriment.”
Chimed in Richie: “What I’ve learned in my business is there are singers and then there are stylists. We’re looking for a stylist who absolutely will not imitate.”
They each bring their strengths to the competition, Perry said.
Bryan is “country”; Richie is a “legend.”
“I’m blunt, but I can’t be mean because I’m a woman.”