American Idol: ABC Eyeing Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Charlie Puth for Judges Panel (UPDATED!)

The latest American Idol rumors…from the usual source: TMZ. According to the mag, 80’s metal rocker Nikki Sixx is no longer under consideration, as previously reported. A new name has been thrown into the mix–musician and songwriter, Charlie Puth:

“American Idol” is getting closer to assembling a full squad — the show’s zeroing in on finalists to join Katy Perry on the judges’ panel.

‘Idol’ sources tell TMZ … Lionel Richie’s still a favorite to fill one of the 2 remaining seats, and singer Charlie Puth has emerged as a front-runner for the other one. We’re told show execs will meet with ABC this week to finalize their choices and make offers.

There could be a country curveball, though … our sources say Luke Bryan is in the mix because he impressed producers in early discussions. Also, if things don’t work out with 2 of those 3 … we’re told Keith Urban is an ‘Idol’ vet who could slide in as an alternate.

Katy and Ryan are anxiously waiting to see who joins ’em.

Charlie Puth’s hits include the smash hit “See You Again” from the Furious 7 soundtrack. His debut single, “Marvin Gaye” featured vocals from Meghan Trainor. He was also a mentor to coach Alicia Keys on Season 11 of The Voice.

I’m assuming that Lionel Richie is a pretty good bet, considering the conversation he recently had with Ryan Seacrest a few days before the host announced he’d be returning to Idol. Richie was enthusiastic about working with Seacrest, believing the two would have great chemistry together.

The Television Critics Association tour, the bi-annual network press conference for TV critics, is currently underway in Los Angeles right now. Disney/ABC day is set for Sunday August 6. More news may be forthcoming on the tour, so stay tuned.

UPDATED: The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that country star Luke Bryan is also in the mix.

Sources note that while all three names are rumored to be in the mix, negotiations have yet to begin with anyone. Richie is considered to be likely as he remains an internal favorite among all three parties; Bryan would make sense given ABC’s relationship with country music (the Disney-owned network is the home to the Country Music Awards, among others); and singer Puth is seen as less likely of the trio.

In the meantime, Variety says former judge Keith Urban is also in the mix. Contrary to THR, Variety says Puth and Richie are in “advanced talks” to join the panel.

Country singers Luke Bryan and Keith Urban, an “Idol” veteran, are being considered as well.

ABC is also deliberating whether to have four judges on its panel. The series has traditionally had only three, with the exceptions of Seasons 8, 9, and 12.

If ABC is worried about busting budgets, as been previously reported, how could they afford 4 judges?

About mj santilli 35022 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!