American Idol 16 hires Lionel Richie to join Katy Perry, Luke Bryan

Lionel RichieAmerican Idol 16 finally made their last hire on the judges’ panel, and it turns out Lionel Richie is the person ABC wanted at the end of the day.

The network confirmed on Friday that Richie is going to join Katy Perry and Luke Bryan on the panel, and this hire is essential given that auditions are going to start filming in the weeks ahead. Richie has fluctuated in and out of contention for a rather long time; we initially thought he was a lock, but it then seemed as though ABC was starting to pull back. It’s pretty hard to gauge sometimes what executives were doing here, but clearly they did get who they wanted.

Also, the network has a really great balance across the entire panel. With Katy, they have a world-famous pop star who will attract contestants and bring attention to the show right away. Meanwhile, with Luke you’ve got one of the biggest stars in country music and a guy who will for-certain draw in that demographic. With Richie, finally, you’ve got a man who is an industry icon and knows a little bit about the ups and downs of being a recording artist. He’ll get older viewers on board the show and probably has stories for days.

In a statement, Richie did have the following to say about being a part of the panel:

“I am very excited to be joining Katy, Luke and Ryan on American Idol … 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!”

The new season of American Idol will air in 2018, and while we remain unsure as to whether or not this new panel will bring back viewers to a format that was at one point the top one on TV, this is probably about as excellent a group of people as the network could’ve hoped for. We don’t have any idea how they can afford the three of them together, but we suppose that this is a different issue for a different day. For now, the folks at the show can just pat themselves on the back and prepare for some of the real work — creating memorable audition moments and hoping that there is genuine talent out there that hasn’t been claimed by either YouTube, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, or some other venue already. Just think for a minute about how many ways there are to be a star now versus a number of years ago when the series first got underway.

What do you think about Leionel Richie joining Katy Perry and Luke Bryan?

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