ABC held a press event at the Hollywood Roosevelt on Wednesday (Feb 12) for the upcoming season of American Idol with hosts Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, host Ryan Seacrest and mentor Bobby Bones. The event included performances by three American Idol season 18 hopefuls, which press has been embargoed from revealing. The cast also sat down for a Q & A. The show closed with a performance from reigning winner, Laine Hardy.
American Idol Season 18 Will Feature More American Idol Live Shows
During the question and answer period, Luke confirmed to reporters that the network has scheduled more live shows this season. “That was the feedback of the fans,” Luke told the assembled crowd. “People were enjoying what was happening on the live shows more, so we said ‘give the people what they want.'”
The judges also shared a story about shutting down an arrogant contestant. “We’re a business not only of singing and performing, but of attitude,” Lionel explained. “People have to fall in love with you. And a lot of times, contestants will walk in with the attitude of ‘I’m the best-looking guy or girl here. I’m ready and I’m the next American Idol.’ And this particular time, I had to say, ‘Come over here, son. What the hell?’ and my father possessed my body for a moment.”
More Constructive Criticism? It’s Not Always About The Voice
Katy stressed that the panel will be dishing out constructive criticism on the show (Don’t the judges claim that every season?). “…It’s constructive criticism. It’s not judgment. This is not meanness. There are not setups,” she said, “We don’t play that game. We understand how vulnerable and valuable people’s dreams are. We just want to get people to the finish line as fast as possible.”
The judges insist it’s not about having the best voice: “We’ve got a kid this year who doesn’t have a huge range, but when he starts singing, you can hear his whole life story in every note that he sings,” said Luke. “It’s so real. His voice is so authentic. It sounds like where he grew up and you can hear all the soul in it.”
Laine Hardy Announced His New Single “Ground I Grew Up On”
Laine Hardy performed his debut single for Hollywood Records, “Ground I Grew Up On.” The singer told Billboard magazine in an interview that it was the first time he ever performed the song acoustically by himself in front of people. He has performed it live with a band, as he did here on Windy City Live in Chicago.
Since leaving the show in May 2019, Laine has been working on new music. “I arrived in Nashville on June 14, 2019. I stayed there for about two, three months writing every single day of the week. I’d get up at nine in the morning. I’d go to write songs at 11. And we would write a song until it was finished,” he told Billboard. “I like being in Nashville, but I need to go home every now and then and rebuild my mental creativity. It really helps. I came back to Nashville and wrote an amazing song.”
American Idol taught Laine endurance and patience. “It made me think outside the box all the time. You’ve just got to never give up and keep on going, even when you’re low or in a bad part of your life. That means it’s about to skyrocket.”
American Idol season 18 premieres on ABC Sunday Feb 16 at 8 pm ET/PT.