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Katy Perry, Lionel Richie Say Online ‘American Idol’ Auditions Changed the Show

Jimmy Kimmel, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie on Jimmy Kimmel LiveJimmy Kimmel Live

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American Idol judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie recently stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about the new season of the show. They spoke about how the judging panel is like family, and why the introduction of online auditions “changed the equation” for the competition.

Katy Perry, Lionel Richie Talk About American Idol

“We’re like family,” Perry said of the American Idol judging panel. “Lionel’s my uncle, and Luke [Bryan] is my brother. I mean, this is our sixth season. We love our job. We love each other. We have so much respect for each other, and respect for the gig.”

Perry went on to say that they always think the talent has run out with each season, but the new contestants prove them wrong. She said they keep seeing “the best of the best of the best,” who come “from all walks of life.”

Richie chimed in to add that the introduction of online auditions “changed the equation,” as the judges are able to meet singers “from a city we’ve never heard of in Arkansas,” for example. As Perry added, instead of having to stand in line, hopefuls can “just click a Zoom link” to audition.

“You have a lot of kids coming from towns that have, like, one stop sign, not even a stop light,” Perry explained. “A lot of kids that have never been on an airplane or an escalator. Any of it. They’re just so blown away by how the world is.”



The Judges Met Contestants with Their Names

During their appearance on Kimmel’s show, the judges teased some entertaining moments from Season 21 of American Idol, when they met contestants who shared their names. First up was a singer named Luke Bryan, then Katy Perry.

The show couldn’t find anyone named Lionel Richie, but there was a singer with the first name Lionel who says he was named after the music legend. The judges can be seen joking about a contestant named Ryan Seacrest walking in.

That’s when the show cuts to the host meeting a young woman with his exact name. She even shows him her driver’s license to prove it. As Perry told Kimmel, “We were all just, like, melting. This is crazy.”

Season 21 of American Idol premieres this Sunday, February 19, at 8/7c on ABC.

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