After nearly seven seasons on the judging panel alongside Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, Katy Perry announced that she will likely leave American Idol at the end of season 22.
With a few days to process the pop star’s decision, Richie is now weighing his thoughts on her departure after working side by side since the reality competition show rebooted on ABC for season 16 in 2018.
“I’m not mad,” the Stuck On You singer said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday, before joking: “The first time I heard about it it made me go off the road.”
He went on to add: “My phone blew up” when Perry’s announcement became public, before revealing that he was not told the news in advance.
Riche, 74, shared how he completely understands why she would want to leave, considering she is only 39 years old and still has so much more story to tell from the lexicon of songwriting and performance.
Lionel Richie, 74, says he’s “not mad” about Katy Perry leaving American Idol after the current 22nd season because she’s only 39 and has a lot more “story to tell” as a pop star.
“I’m not mad,” the Stuck On You singer said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Thursday, before joking: “The first time I heard about it it made me go off the road.”
“No, we didn’t know that, but it makes sense,” the All Night Long star said of Perry’s announcement on Kimmel’s talk show on Monday.
He continued. ‘In other words: the reason I love coming on the show with you and the reason I’m doing American Idol is because I have 400 years of stories and a life in the music business. I have things I’ve done.’
After referencing the experience needed to be a credible and knowledgeable judge, Richie reiterated that he understands why it’s time for her to go away and be a pop star again.
‘And so when Katy says, “I want to go and create some stories,” remember, she’s young. But the thing is, you have to take the time and really be an artist.
Perry is walking away from a huge salary that pays him a whopping $25 million per season, according to several publications, including Taste of the country.
That makes her the second highest-paid judge in franchise history, surpassed only by Simon Cowell, whose deal has paid her $36 million.
Their current colleagues earn a nice payday, but it’s significantly less: Richie reportedly makes $10 million per season and Bryan $12 million.
In fact, Perry’s $25 million, which is due to her enormous popularity among fans, is more than other big stars who have appeared on the judging panel such as Jennifer Lopez ($17.5 million) and Marian Carey ($18 million).
Riche says he completely understands why Perry would want to leave, considering he’s only 39 years old and still has a lot more story to tell from the lexicon of songwriting and performance.
Firework star leaves behind $25 million per season salary for American Idol
Richie maintains he has no idea who will replace the Firework star, although there has already been talk that Miley Cyrus will be the choice of some bosses.
No matter who gets the job, the Hello singer-songwriter believes that person will have to come with plenty of their own stories to tell.
“I tell you what, this is a great show,” the Tuskegee, Alabama, native said. “And what I like most of all is that we’re artists, so we know what we’re talking about, and these kids are scared to death, so I love sitting there like the wise poo-bahs, the three of us, and we’re sitting there and we are all giving information that we know is real.”
He continued, “So whoever comes on the show has to be, well, to top Katy, you have to always be funny and, on top of that, be knowledgeable,” the Tuskegee, Alabama, native said.
As for Perry herself, the singer says she plans to “go see the world and maybe bring some new music” along the way, but she left the door open for a possible return to American Idol in the future.