Nobody thought that Katy Perry would be sitting at the judges’ table all by herself, but it’s taken a while for the brand-new American Idolto announce just who she’d be splitting her duties with. But fear not, because the singing competition just announced that country crooner Luke Bryan will be joining Perry for ABC’s reboot.
Variety reports that Bryan has been confirmedfor the upcoming season. Fans of country music need not fear that they’d be losing a judging spot, because Bryan’s a Nashville superstar, with his last three albums debuting at the top spot on Billboard‘s Top Country Album charts. Idol fans have grown accustomed to having a huge country star on the panel, with Keith Urban holding the illustrious position for four seasons.
Rumors were swirling around both Charlie Puth and Lionel Richie leading up to the Bryan announcement. Variety notes that negotiations with Richie didn’t pan out, but Puth hasn’t been ruled out entirely. The Idol panel has generally included more seasoned stars, such as Steven Tyler, the aforementioned Urban, and Mariah Carey, but the show’s featured some younger stars, too, such as Nicki Minaj, hoping to pull in a wider swath of music fans. And although Perry famously signed a $25 million deal for her spot on the show, ABC declined to elaborate on details of Bryan’s contract.
Perry and Bryan can’t helm the show on their own, though. While past seasons have had four judges, Variety reports that season 16 will employ a three-judge panel. That means that producers are still scrambling to add a third artist to the lineup before the show’s March debut. Aside from the judges, one more familiar face is returning: Ryan Seacrest will be back, too, because the more things change, the more things stay the same.