American Idol is coming back for a 21st season. Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie return as judges for the upcoming season of the ABC competition show alongside host Ryan Seacrest in a new first-look photo as Idol takes Las Vegas. Judge auditions kicked off Sunday in Sin City, the network announced, with Bryan, Perry and Richie looking for the next talented singer to take over Hollywood.
Idol hopefuls can still sign up for an Idol Across America chance to sing live in front of a producer and audition for their big shot. Last season, Perry told Entertainment Tonight that the connection between the contestants and judges grows more ever year. "I feel like, every season, artists see us and they are trusting us more and more," the pop singer explained. "The real world out there is not easy, and you can't be too soft."
She continued of her own judging style, "I like to be firm and fair and fun and hopeful and supporting, but don't lie to them. Because they need the help. I keep people around who say no to me all the time or debate me all the time, and that's a real big key to success." Last year's biggest success was Noah Thompson, a 20-year-old construction worker from Louisa, Kentucky who won Season 20 of Idol after 16 million votes were cast.
"It's been a ride, man," Thompson told PopCulture in July of life after taking home the Idol crown. "At first, after the show ended, I went back home for a minute and took it all in with my family. We just came back to earth for a second, because it's been a whirlwind of a year. It's been a wild ride. But I'm just making these trips back and forth to Nashville right now, and I'm getting to experience co-writing, all kinds of cool stuff, man." He continued of his musical style moving forward, "I think I'm still trying to find myself as an artist, you know what I mean? I'm still trying to find out what kind of sound I want ... I'm figuring that out and I feel like that's fine..." American Idol Season 21 premieres in 2023 on ABC.