'American Idol' Secures Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry For Season 17

Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry will all return for Season 17 of American Idol. The three judges, who enjoyed plenty of on-stage camaraderie and good-natured ribbing, admit they knew early on they had undeniable chemistry.

"Honestly, all I demanded was one thing: that I had the exact same team, because it's perfect," Richie tells Access of his decision to return for another season. "I've got it down."

"I'm speaking for them and for me," adds Bryan. "I think we're having a blast. I'm having a blast. And it hits on all the emotions. That we get to go make albums, tour, and then we get to do this too. This is so fun to come and watch these kids grow. I'll tell you what, a couple of months in, it made me want to sit down at the piano and start writing, because it's very inspiring."

The three judges might sing three different styles of music, and have three different personalities, but Perry says they all have one important thing in common.

"I think we three are such honest pursuers, and truth pursuers, that I don't think we'd be able to do something we don't love, and really pull it off this way," says Perry. "It doesn't matter what they want to give us, if we don't love it, you're going to see it. And we are invested."

Bryan also gave a little good-natured ribbing at Perry's rumored on-again boyfriend, Orlando Bloom, along with a warning to the actor.

"I haven't met Orlando yet, to suss him out, check this guy out. If he hurts my little sister ..." Bryan warns. "He just thinks all that bow shooting he did on Lord of the Rings. I got some real world bows."

The "Most People Are Good" singer admits he struggled with actually judging some of the contestants in the beginning, even though it's what he signed up for.

"It's a little out of my comfort zone to just pick people apart, you know, but you have to, it's what you signed up for," he shared, adding that it got easier with time.

"I remember our first day on set ... and when somebody doesn't need to make it through, there's no way around, you've got to say no," Bryan admits. "I'm like, 'Oh God, I gotta tell 'em no...,' but then when you learn after 14-hour days of filming, you're like, 'No! It's time to get the next person in!'"


Carrie Underwood will serve as the guest mentor for the next episode of American Idol, airing on Sunday, May 13, at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.

Photo Credit: Instagram/lukebryan