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Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry have served as the judges on American Idol since the show was rebooted on ABC in 2018. The three of them have developed close friendships after working together for so long.
While many viewers like the dynamic between Richie, Bryan, and Perry, others aren’t big fans of the judges. During the most recent season (which just ended in May), Perry in particular earned criticism from Idol viewers over some comments she made to contestants.
For starters, Perry generated some controversy after she told auditioning mom-of-three contestant Sara Beth Liebe, “You’ve been laying on the table too much.” Liebe said Perry’s comment was “hurtful” to her, and some viewers accused Perry of “mom-shaming.”
Later, Perry generated more criticism (and boos from the Idol crowd) for a comment she made about contestant Nutsa Buzaladze’s attire. She said:
“Nutsa, every time you take the stage it’s like you glitter bomb the stage. Listen, one thing that I would like to see from you is not one piece of glitter the next time. I know that is going to be hard.”
Bryan recently spoke out in defense of Perry. He addressed the backlash she’s received, telling Fox News, “Katy gets picked on for going out and trying to have fun making a TV show.”
“You can’t be so safe in the moment that you’re so homogenized, you can’t ever go for a joke. Or go for a fun moment…Sometimes, you just gotta say stuff.”
Bryan noted how Perry isn’t new to backlash, saying it’s something she’s dealt with “her whole career.” That makes him appreciate her even more.
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At the end of the day, Bryan understands that he, Perry, and Richie won’t always click with the Idol viewers. He says that’s the nature of their job as judges on the show. “We all get it…I mean we’re judging kids that people at home fall in love with…We’re not gonna bat 1,000 as judges.”
Bryan also said:
“I think we get set up,” he continued. “As judges, you know, we kinda fall on the sword a lot of times. And get set up to where people can get very vocal on socials and stuff.”
While Idol has announced that it’s coming back for a new season in 2024, Richie, Bryan, and Perry have not yet confirmed if they’re returning. Though Bryan did tell media outlets “it’s gonna be a tough show for me and Lionel and Katy to walk away from.”
Stay tuned for any updates on Bryan, Richie, and Perry’s futures on Idol.