Are Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie Leaving 'American Idol' Too?

Even though the new season of American Idol won’t return to ABC until spring of 2025, the search for the next singing sensation will start filming in late summer and will have to have the replacement for the exiting Katy Perry by that date.

The fact that the alphabet network hasn’t announced the new judge isn’t unusual. The reveal of the panel is usually made in late August. But what is surprising news is the disclosure by Luke Bryan that there’s no guarantee that he and Lionel Richie will be returning.

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“It’s been interesting,” the country star told Billboard. “It’s been something Disney has been really tightlipped about with me and Lionel and Ryan [Seacrest]. We currently haven’t heard what the story is on who’s coming back, and if Lionel and I are coming back. I think Disney is just trying to figure out what they want to do and we’re just kind of sitting back and waiting until they decide.”

Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest<p>Disney/Art Streiber</p>
Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest

Disney/Art Streiber

It’s hard to imagine that ABC would replace all three judges at the same time, but it could be a matter of chemistry and they don’t want to confirm Luke or Lionel until they make sure that they will vibe well with the new judge.

Another holdup could be that American Idol founding producer Wylleen May, the executive in charge of production, won’t be returning to the ABC series next season. She was recently let go by Fremantle, the production company behind American Idol.

Related: Who Will Replace Katy Perry as a Judge on American Idol?

As for potential Katy Perry replacements, Luke has previously named several female artists.

“I’ve said several names. I think P!nk has been in the talks, Miley Cyrus has been in the talks, Meghan Trainor has been in the talks,” Luke told Billboard.

Of the three, Meghan has unabashedly lobbied for the job. She said during an interview on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, “I’ve done every interview in the world and said that that is my dream job, and I have emailed three awesome people who work in that world who don’t really have the final say … but I have begged for this job … it’s my favorite show—I’ve watched it since I was a child.”

American Idol will return next spring for its eighth season on ABC, its 23rd overall.

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