American Idol is making a comeback sooner than fans expected.
Seacrest is returning to the show as host, while the judges table will feature three fresh faces. Pop singer Katy Perry, country star Luke Bryan and the legendary Lionel Richie will serve on this season’s judges panel.
Auditions for the show began in August, hitting 23 cities across the country, Entertainment Weekly reports. This season, contestants may also audition via video, social media or live-stream events. The network encouraged aspiring singers to use the hashtag #TheNextIdol, which has already been used more than 300,000 times.
The revival of the long-running Fox show was announced in May after the original series wrapped up in 2015.
American Idol initially aired seasons from 2002 to 2015, launching the careers of contestants like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson. It was canceled by Fox because of declining viewership and the hefty price tag that came with judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.
ABC’s revival of the hit show hasn’t been cheap, though. Perry was the first judge to sign on for $25 million and Seacrest will return as host for $15 million. Variety reports that after these negotiations, fewer than $10 million was left to pay the remaining judges for the season.
Before Bryan and Richie were locked in, rumors swirled that ABC's talent search included names like Charlie Puth, Keith Urban, Scooter Braun, Dolly Parton, Common and Troy Carter, Variety reports.
But the judging trio are excited for the reboot, ensuring fans will be in for a fun seasons and contestants will be in solid hands.
“We all have our strengths and I think that we are a very diverse panel and I think we all can give a different perspective," Perry said during a recent sit-down with Universal Music Group, praising her fellow judges.