'American Idol' Judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie Tease Newcomer Bobby Bones to 'Come in With Some Gloves On'

Bobby Bones better trade in his dancing shoes for boxing gloves when he comes on board the upcoming season of American Idol, fellow judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan teased to PEOPLE at the Country Music Association Awards Wednesday.

The country radio personality, currently competing alongside pro partner Sharna Burgess in the Dancing With the Stars finale, announced earlier this month that he would be acting as an in-house mentor during the new season of Idol, which premieres in 2019.

Coming into the second season of the American Idol reboot, Richie told the outlet, will be a little different than coming in on the ground level like himself, Bryan and fellow judge Katy Perry.

"The judges are pretty locked when I say that we have opinions, big opinions, this year, because we've gotten used to each other now" Richie explained. "And Luke knows how to push Katy's buttons and Katy and Luke know how to push my buttons. So just tell Bobby, come in with some gloves on. Get ready."

Bryan gave Bones credit when asked about his hustle when it comes from turning his career in radio into that of a reality personality, telling the outlet, "I've been following Bobby's Instagram posts and seeing his little snippets of dancing. He's having fun."

He continued, "The beauty of what Bobby's doing is, what he's been able to do his whole career in radio and now TV is, he knows how to seize moments, and nobody works harder."

When asked what bit of advice he would give Bones to help him fit in during his first season, Bryan joked, "He's welcome anytime, but you've gotta get ready for Lionel's stories of the '70s and '80s, and its nothing to prepare you for what Katy may throw your way."

Bones couldn't be more excited to help mold the musicians who come through Idol this season, he said during the mentorship announcement earlier this month.

"I'm super excited. I can't wait to work with them and hopefully make a brand new superstar on American Idol," Bones said in an ABC promotional video. "So be sure to watch, and I will see you soon."

In addition to his newfound reality TV fame, at 38, Bones is the youngest member of the National Radio Hall of Fame, and has won three ACM Awards for National On-Air Personality and the 2017 Country Music Association Award for National Broadcast Personality of the Year.


American Idol will return to ABC in 2019.

Photo credit: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images