After Katy Perry Pitched Jelly Roll As Her American Idol Replacement, Lionel Richie Pitched Two Big Names I Love Even More

This would be iconic.

Katy Perry holds her hand to her cheek and screams while judging on American Idol

(Image credit: ABC)

Ever since Katy Perry announced her impending exit from American Idol — via creative use of the game Two Truths and a Lie — fans have inevitably wondered who might replace her alongside Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. A few former champions have thrown their hats in the ring, and Perry herself indicated that she’d love to see Jelly Roll get the gig. However, “Endless Love” crooner Richie threw out a couple of huge names that he’d like to see, and I would totally be on board with this.

Lionel Richie Pitches Kelly Clarkson Or Taylor Swift To Join American Idol

The show has had to replace several judges who have left American Idol over the years, so there’s no question that producers are having these conversations behind the scenes even before Katy Perry signs off for good. If they need ideas, it sounds like Lionel Richie’s got a couple. He told ET that he recently ran into the OG American Idol, none other than Kelly Clarkson, and he made it no secret that he’d love to see her return to her roots. Richie said:

I didn’t want to bring that up. Not only did I think about it, I slipped important notes. You know what I’m saying, Kelly, we’ve been together a long time. Kelly, if you don’t have anything else to do, I’d like to drop that out there. Big fan!

I have to say, I love Lionel Richie shooting his shot like this, and this would undoubtedly be an excellent pick. I think Kelly Clarkson was one of the best all-time coaches of The Voice during her nine seasons on the NBC singing competition, so I’d love to see her return to the competition realm. (And that wouldn’t be the only overlap between American Idol and The Voice.)

From left to right: screenshots of Taylor Swift smiling on The Tonight Show and Kelly Clarkson smiling on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

(Image credit: NBC)
But why stop there? Lionel Richie also had another name in mind, and it’s one that’s honestly been on a lot of people’s minds lately with her new album, the Eras Tour and high-profile relationship with Travis Kelce — that’s right, Richie shouted out Taylor Swift as a possible replacement for Katy Perry, saying:

By the way, Taylor, if you’re available, we’d like to have you out here. Call me!

As amazing as either Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Swift would be as an American Idol judge, I feel like both are a long shot. Idol, like The Voice, films primarily in Los Angeles, and one of the reasons Clarkson left The Voice was because she relocated to New York. As for Swift, well, we hear she’s got a lot going on at the moment.

Who Else Has Been Mentioned As A Possible Replacement For Katy Perry?

There’s been no official news on who might join the panel for American Idol Season 23, which is no surprise since Katy Perry is still doing her thing on the current cycle. However, in addition to Perry’s comments about Jelly Roll, Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks voiced interest in returning to the show as a judge.

Another former winner, Season 2’s Ruben Studdard, as well as the runner-up that season, Clay Aiken, also indicated to E! News that they would answer ABC’s call. Whoever American Idol ultimately chooses, there’s one important factor in naming Katy Perry’s replacement, according to Lionel Richie, who said:

Finding someone to replace Katy with a sense of humor, it’s gotta be fun but no ego because we’re gonna insult each other so much.

It definitely seems like a fun dynamic to join, whoever does get that call. Until we know more, though, you can continue to watch Katy Perry’s final episodes at 8 p.m. ET Sundays on ABC. Be sure to check out our 2024 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming soon.

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