Lionel Richie Reveals How He Really Feels About Katy Perry Leaving American Idol

Richie also discussed Perry’s American Idol replacement.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 16, 2024

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Lionel Richie, Katy Perry; Photos Courtesy American Idol, Disney/Art Streiber

Lionel Richie is sharing his true thoughts on Katy Perry’s departure from American Idol and is weighing in on who could replace her on the show. 

Richie, 74, made an appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday evening to chat about his return to Idol, his documentary The Greatest Night In Pop, and more. 

Just days before Richie’s appearance on the show, fellow American Idol judge Katy Perry dropped a bombshell announcement on Kimmel, revealing that she would not be returning to the popular singing competition show after its current season. At the time, Perry revealed that no one knew about her decision to leave, including Richie or fellow judge Luke Bryan. 

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry; Photo Courtesy American Idol by Disney/Eric McCandless
Lionel Richie, Katy Perry; Photo Courtesy American Idol by Disney/Eric McCandless

Was Lionel Richie Mad At Katy Perry?

When asked if he was “mad at Katy” for announcing the news on the show before talking to him about it, Richie was quick to clear the air, confessing, “I’m not mad.” The news did however take him by surprise. 

“It just made me run off the road. When I first heard about it, my phone blew up,” he explained. 

The four-time GRAMMY winner went on to share how he understands and supports her decision to leave the show. 

Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy American Idol, Disney/Art Streiber
Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy American Idol, Disney/Art Streiber

“But the point was, no, we didn’t know about it, but it makes sense,” he continued. “In other words, the reason I love coming on the show here with you, and the reason I’m doing American Idol is because I have 400 years of stories and a life in the music business. I have things that I’ve done. And so when Katy says I want to go and create some stories, remember that she’s young…But the point is, is that you have to take some time and actually be an artist.”

Who Will Replace Katy Perry On American Idol?

Perry’s replacement on the show has yet to be revealed and it appears showrunners are keeping all potential judges under complete wraps. 

“They’re keeping tightlipped. I don’t even know, but I’m telling you the It’s going to be really interesting,” Richie teased. 

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When discussing what it takes to become an American Idol judge, Richie admitted that the next person who steps in will have big shoes to fill. 

“Only because, and I’m telling you something. This is a great show and what I love most of all is that we are artists so we know what we’re talking about, and these kids are scared to death. So I love sitting there as the wise paws of the three of us, and we’re sitting there and we’re all kind of giving information that we know is real. So whoever’s coming on this show has got to be well Compass, Katy, you got to be humorous forever. And on top of that knowledgeable.” 

Kimmel suggested Madonna and Cindy Lauper to which Richie replied, “Madonna. If you’re listening…” 

Katy Perry on American Idol; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless
Katy Perry on American Idol; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

Why Is Katy Perry Leaving American Idol?

Katy Perry shared her plans to leave Idol late Monday night. 

“I think this probably will be my last show, my last season for Idol,” she told Kimmel. “I mean I love Idol so much. It’s connected me with the heart of America, but I feel like I need to go out and feel that pulse to my own beat, you what I’m saying Jimmy?”

After sharing her love for Richie and Bryan, who have been by her side on American Idol for seven seasons, Perry teased what’s to come. 

“They figure I’ve been in the studio for a while so they figured something is coming,” Perry continued. “I love the show so much but I wanna go and see the world and maybe bring new music.”

Perry’s final season of American Idol will officially debut on Sunday, February 18th on ABC or streaming on Hulu.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.