October 19, 2018 / 9:19 PM

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Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan Debut As Judges On ‘American Idol’ Season 16



American Idol kicks off its brand new season with a new set of judges: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan.

This week, the show returns after a two-year hiatus following its cancellation on Fox. Now, on its new home ABC, the popular singing competition premiered on Sunday, March 11, in search for the next Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.

American Idol Returns

Aside from the new set of judges, American Idol is pretty much the same. The show began with auditions in Orlando in which hopefuls come into a room, perform in front of the three judges, and they decide whether the contestant is worthy to head to Hollywood.

There, they will face another round of auditions and eliminations. By then, only a handful of the hundreds of hopefuls remain to compete every week for the title of American Idol.

Despite the sexual allegations against Ryan Seacrest, he is also back to host the show. Last month, a former personal stylist said that the 43-year-old television personality groped and slapped her.

Channing Dungey, ABC entertainment president, and Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Freemantle Media CEO said in a recent statement that they are standing by Seacrest.

"I've known Ryan now for almost 16 years. I stand by him," said Frot-Coutaz. "Obviously it's unfortunate. I'm not privy to the details. He seems to be very robust in his defense. And we'll see where it all goes."

Some minor detail did change, however. As promised, the episode on Sunday did not highlight bad auditions. Of course, not everyone got in, including Cosby, a music theater performer who did not get that coveted ticket to Hollywood.

"I'm sorry, I'm really good. I can't take it down, dumba****," she said while walking out of the audition. "I think Kary's just a little jealous."

Sunday Night Highlights

The first hopeful to audition on Sunday night was Catie Turner, 17 years old. She performed her own song titled "21st Century Machine," which received a compliment from Richie. She is also the first to receive a golden ticket to Hollywood.

In the Nashville audition, the judges faced Harper Grace who went viral when she was 11 years old after her performance of the National Anthem was tagged as the worst rendition of the song ever. On Sunday night, she performed an original country song and also received approval for Perry, Bryan, and Richie. (Watch her audition below.)

Oddly, one contestant also had his first kiss on the show. 33-year-old Perry gave contestant Benjamin Glaze, a 19-year-old cashier, a kiss on national television. He did not make it to Hollywood.

American Idol airs every Sunday and Monday, at 8 p.m Eastern or 7 p.m. Central on ABC.


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