American Idol season 18: Lionel Richie won’t return without Katy Perry, Luke Bryan

American IdolAs we look towards American Idol season 18, there remain all sorts of questions about the future of certain judges. We know that there is an interest from Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie in coming back. There’s just no guarantee that we’re going to see that happen.

Here’s the larger question you have to wonder: Will we actually see the contracts signed? Money is a big issue, but here is another one to think about — whether or not the judges would do the show without each other around. When it comes to Richie, it apparently seems as though it’s all or nothing. Either everyone comes back, or he doesn’t come back. There may not be a middle ground, per what he had to say via Entertainment Weekly:

What will it take? The same things we did this year … I’ve got the greatest three personalities ever. Now, when I started out with this group, I was a bit worried. I kept telling America, ‘Pray for me.’ But now that I know who everybody is and their characters, oh my god, I would not do another show without ’em.”

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We do agree with Lionel’s assertion that these three do have great chemistry together, and they work in part because they each represent something so different in music. They have a lot of charm, charisma, and a great sense of humor. Also, this show doesn’t focus too much on them to the point where it takes away from the contestants. While we do still wish that they would offer more in the way of constructive criticism, we get why it doesn’t happen — there’s a fear that someone being negative is going to change how viewers vote, and nobody wants to be blamed for someone going home. That is part of the problem when it comes to being a singing-show judge in 2019, and if you can’t offer any sort of real, viable feedback, the next best thing that you can do is try to find a way to be entertaining.

There’s probably not going to be any hurry on deciding the future of the American Idol judging panel, so if we could give you one bit of advice, it’s this: Be prepared for a good, long wait. Filming with the judges doesn’t start for many more months and we don’t think that the series is going to want to rush negotiations if it benefits everyone to take a little more time.

In the end, it’s probably going to just come down to this: Whether or not the ratings justify the judges’ salaries.

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