‘American Idol’ Officially Adds Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie
Luke Bryan is officially in as a judge for American Idol, and Lionel Richie will be joining him and Katy Perry behind the table when the show reboots on ABC in January. Rumors of both men joining were verified in a statement made Friday afternoon (Sept. 29).
It's Bryan's first recurring television series role, but he has hosted the ACM Awards on ABC for several years. The "Light It Up" singer is one of country music's most popular hitmakers and one of few country singers capable of filling stadiums. The news comes as he prepares to release his sixth studio album sometime in 2017.
"I’m excited at the chance to help some deserving artists reach their dreams," Bryan says. "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!"
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Richie will be the veteran presence on a show that has mostly been revamped since wrapping up on Fox in 2016. His hits include "Lady," "All Night Long" and "Say You, Say Me." The 68-year-old launched a Las Vegas residency in 2016 and has remained a festival headliner.
Country music has fared well on American Idol over the years, producing three winners and several others like Kellie Pickler and Lauren Alaina who remain active on television and radio. Carrie Underwood was the genre's first winner in 2005, with Scotty McCreery following in 2011 and Trent Harmon in 2016. Keith Urban has been the only other country music judge, doing so for four years prior to the show's conclusion.
Ryan Seacrest will return to host in 2018.
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