Talent Recap

Lionel Richie Says ‘American Idol’ is “Not Scripted”

Lionel Richie and Colt Glover on 'American Idol'Photo by: ABC/Eric McCandless

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Aware of the harsh speculations, American Idol judge Lionel Richie maintains that the long-running series is completely candid. The multi-genre music star also talked how being sent to Hollywood Week of the competition can change a contestant’s life.

Lionel Richie Says They Don’t Make Stuff Up on American Idol

During his latest appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show, Richie took the time to share his expectations for American Idol’s upcoming Hollywood Week. Apparently, the recurring judge saw this as an opportunity to address the common speculation that the series has a fixed plot.

“All I can to you is I don’t know what the heck they’re gonna do,” he said. “And it’s not scripted. Everyone thinks that we’re making this stuff up or somebody’s writing it for us. So every day, it’s a step off the edge of the cliff of faith.”

Richie went on and stated that as judges, they naturally think of what they could do to teach the contestants amid their Idol journey. Yet, the “We Are The World” hitmaker also acknowledges how such “kids” manage to make them learn.

“When you see us in tears on the show, for example, you know, it’s not because we’re sitting there emotionally involved in their careers. No, we’re sitting there as their parents,” he said.

Furthermore, the country star explained how getting in the Hollywood Week can literally make a difference. For him, to send contestants of touching backgrounds to this stage of the competition is pleasing.

“Are they gonna win the whole event? Probably not. But just leaving that town for a brief moment and meeting some new friends could change their lives forever,” he said.

He Looks Back on His Beginnings in Music

Elsewhere in the interview, Richie told the real story behind his college dropout narrative. As stated by the singer, he was in his senior year in Tuskegee University when he told his father that they will be the opening act of the Jackson 5.

“My dad looked at me and I can’t say the words that he said to me,” he said. “He’s a very educated man, but he really got nasty to me.”

Nonetheless, despite his dad’s hesitations, Richie remained firm in seeking a career in music. And years after finding fame, the singer knows his father is the most proud of him.

“So I realized, at that point, you can pay your parents off if you get really great at it, you know?” he said. “I mean, yes, he scared me to death, but he made me put a focus on it. If I don’t go for my dream now, when? So I had to take that chance.”

American Idol kicks off their Hollywood Week round on Sunday, April 2 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. BE sure to tune in to see the show’s alumni serving as mentors.

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