American Idol: ABC Taking Time to Get Judges Panel Chemistry Right

American Idol ABC Logo

A new update on American Idol casting doesn’t provide much in the way of new information. But the latest from Variety magazine does have a few interesting tidbits.

Those of you not living under several rocks know that Katy Perry will be paid the big bucks to sit on the judges panel. And after a bit of wrangling, Ryan Seacrest is returning to host.

However, ABC still needs to fill at least two chairs on the judges panel before its spring 2018 premier. 

According to reports, Lionel Richie, Charlie Puth, Luke Bryan and Keith Urban were in talks to join the show. Variety sources claim the names are still in the mix, but a decision has yet to be made. However, the source said, ABC is “starting to lock down on the judges.”

“We don’t have to make any decisions immediately so we’re taking a lot of meetings because you want to get it right,” said ABC’s head of alternative programming, Rob Mills, in a recent interview with Variety.  While open auditions begin later this week, the judges round of competition doesn’t begin filming until October. 

Asked specifically about Puth and Richie, Mills told Variety, “We’re taking a lot of meetings. Some of these meetings have become public,” he said, referring to the media leaks. “To me,’talks’ means there are negotiations going on and I don’t even think we’re there yet with anyone. Really. We’re taking meetings and doing all the different permutations. We really want to make sure we get it right.”

And getting the judges panel right involves including both Perry and Seacrest in the decision making process. Mills explained:  “They know everybody and they’ve got opinions,” he said. “Katy and Ryan are going to be instrumental in looking. We want to make sure this really feels like a family.”

I’m relieved that ABC brass understand the importance of getting the panel chemistry right. That season 12 crew, with Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj at each other’s throats, was messed up and hastened Idol’s downfall.

 “At the end of the day, as great as that original panel of judges (Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul) was individually, it was also about the chemistry between them,” said Mills, “Simon was wonderful, but if he didn’t have Paula or Randy, would he or the show have been as successful? We’ve got Katy and now it’s all about who’s going to be good with Katy.”

Perry and Seacrest are not only concerned about chemistry, but also returning the show to its superstar-making roots. 

“Ryan and Katy, it is so important to them that we really find another ‘American Idol’ like a Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson or Chris Daugherty or Jennifer Hudson or Adam Lambert or one of these other massive stars,” Mills said. “We all take that really seriously so we want to find judges who are going to compliment that.”

I think the days of stars being created on talent shows are long gone. But, hey–weirder things have happened.

About mj santilli 30862 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!