“I’m excited at the chance to help some deserving artists reach their dreams,” country singer Bryan, 41, said in a press release. “To be in a position in my career to help facilitate this along with the other judges is just a complete honor. It’s gonna be a blast!”
R&B singer Richie, 68, added, “I am very excited to be joining Katy, Luke and Ryan [Seacrest] on American Idol. As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table. It’s going to be so much fun!”
The panel will make their debut appearance on Good Morning America on Wednesday, October 4.
“Luke and Lionel are the perfect additions to round out our panel of judges for American Idol on ABC,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement. “In their respective genres of music, both Luke and Lionel possess insurmountable popularity and award-winning talent that are undeniable, and we are lucky that they will help in paving the way for hopefuls pursuing their dreams on our stage.”
Returning host Seacrest, 42, took to Twitter shortly after the announcement to celebrate. “It’s Twitter official! Welcome to the @AmericanIdol fam @LukeBryanOnline & @LionelRichie!” he tweeted. “Huge fan of both – this is great news #TheNextIdol.”
In a follow-up tweet, the TV and radio personality — who previously helmed the singing competition’s 15-season run on Fox from 2002 to 2016 — added, “So who wants to start the @americanidol group chat?”