'American Idol': Katy Perry Explains Why the Judges Hold Back on Performances They Dislike

Katy Perry has been serving as a judge on the reboot of American Idol for two seasons now, so the pop star has had plenty of time to figure out how best to critique prospective hopefuls when they appear in front of her. During a recent listening session with this season's Top 8 contestants, Perry explained that she and fellow judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie don't always let a contestant know if they dislike a performance for one simple reason.

“We can steer a little bit by our critiques — if we were to say on any given night, ‘Oh, that was a horrible performance,’ I think you would see that in the voting,” she told reporters, via PEOPLE. “That’s why we like to be, sometimes, a little vague with our constructive criticism because I think we still have influence a bit. But what we have now for Top 8 is really strong — any one of those kids could be a star. So, it’s like, well, we did our work here and it’s up to those kids to make something of it — and it’s up to the American public to vote for it.”

In April, the show selected this season's Top 8 after its Disney night, which the judges felt free to critique now that voting is over.

“Honestly, I don’t think that they all picked the right [songs],” Perry noted of the contestant's choices, with Bryan agreeing, “Well yeah, I think some of our contestants didn’t pick the right ones.”

“And we can say that because we’re off voting,” Perry added.

While the trio keeps the constructive criticism to a minimum on television, Perry noted that honest feedback is an important aspect of any artist's career, including her own.

“I mean, one of the only reasons why I’m here is because I had a mentor when I first got to L.A. who was helping me develop my songwriting that was telling me the truth,” she said. “A lot of people cringe at a [label] person and they cringe at major labels, but they do need those people that help guide them just to help look after them and their best interests. We really find the ones that we’re invested in, we love on them and we really want them to win in whatever way.”

Next week's Idol will find the Top 5 contestants battling it out, with Madison Vandenburg, Laine Hardy, Alejandro Aranda, Wade Cota and Laci Kaye Booth all competing for a spot in the two-part finale.


American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo Credit: Getty / Allen Berezovsky