Lionel Richie Signs on To ‘American Idol’

The final judging chair for the reboot of American Idol has been filled by legendary singer/songwriter, Lionel Richie.

Written by Lauren Laffer
Lionel Richie Signs on To ‘American Idol’
Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie; Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

The newly rebooted American Idol finally has its three judges!

Seated at the judges table on the upcoming season of the hit show will be pop superstar Katy Perry, country star Luke Bryan and the legendary Lionel Richie.

After months of rumors swirling about, TMZ is reporting that Richie is the final judge to join the ABC reboot of the iconic reality competition show. The publication adds that an official announcement from Idol could come as early as Friday (Sept. 29).

The finalization of the judges seats couldn’t come a moment too soon as Extra reports that filming for the series is set to begin on Tuesday (Oct. 3).

It was announced earlier in the week by Variety that Bryan would join Perry as the second judge. The show’s longtime host Ryan Seacrest has also been tapped to return to the helm while he also balances his new gig at Live with Kelly and Ryan. Variety also reports that Perry signed a $25 million contract, while TMZ adds that Bryan will reportedly take $15 million and Richie, $13 million.

The decision to bring back Idol was confirmed in May by ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey. The network reportedly beat out bids from FOX and NBC to become the new home for the show.

“American Idol is a pop-culture staple that left the air too soon,” said Dungey at the time. “ABC is the right home to reignite the fan base. We are thrilled viewers will once again share in these inspiring stories of people realizing their dreams.”

American Idol is slated to return March 2018.


Shortly after this article was published, Bryan’s publicist confirmed the news in a press release.

“I’m excited at the chance to help some deserving artists reach their dreams,” said Bryan. “To be in a position in my career to help facilitate this along with the other judges is just a complete honor. It’s gonna be a blast!”

“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!”

“Luke and Lionel are the perfect additions to round out our panel of judges for ‘American Idol’ on ABC,” shared Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment. “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.”

The judges panel and host will make their debut together during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America on Oct. 4.