Katy Perry is one of the world’s most-prolific pop stars, but she’s still fine-tuning her abilities as a judge on “American Idol.”
The singer, 32, and her fellow judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, began listening to hopeful contestants for the first time Tuesday during auditions in New York, and Perry admits parts of the job aren’t exactly easy.
“The most challenging thing was trying to figure out was how to say ‘no’ to people at first,” Perry said at an “Idol” press event Wednesday.
Perry, Richie and Bryan are set to ring in a new era of “American Idol,” which is being revived by ABC after spending its first 15 seasons on Fox from 2002 to 2016.
Gone are the days of Simon Cowell curtly critiquing performers as they chase their dreams on the popular TV singing competition. The new panel says it is far more interested in offering advice for contestants and helping them improve, all while remaining as straightforward as possible.
“I don’t think any of us believe in being nasty. What we believe in is being constructive, and giving constructive criticism,” Perry said. “Because it doesn’t help anyone, and people are really sensitive, and we understand because we all walked into a room like that at one time in our life.”
Richie, 68, is singing the same tune. He believes the best approach for a judge is to remain “pleasantly brutally honest” with “Idol” aspirants.
“It’s easy for an executive to say, ‘That’s garbage, next,'” the legendary artist said. “Well, yeah, but that was going to be a great songwriter in about four more years. You don’t kill him, so we try to inspire and at the same time be real.”
The upcoming season of “American Idol” is still in such early stages that the judges haven’t entirely figured out their respective identities on the show. The panel features unique perspectives across the board, with each artist boasting an expertise in a different genre of music.
That should help the judges relate to the show’s competitors — even if it makes it harder to give criticism or stop performances mid-song.
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“As artists, the thing we have trouble with is interrupting them mid-song,” Bryan said. “That’s a tough thing to do, because we know that feeling of being up there singing.”
Bryan and Richie officially joined “Idol” last week, several months after Perry signed on as the first judge for a rumored $25 million.
The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of ambitious singers made the job desirable for Perry.
“With the state of things, we can feel a little bit down in the dumps about everything,” Perry said. “All we need is one person to show us that you don’t have to have anything, you don’t have to come from anywhere, you don’t have to know anyone, but you have to have that spark, that talent and then you have to work hard.
“Maybe we can give them that lucky star, and we kind of give them that platform, that hopefully they’ll be singing the songs we all want to sing together as a community.”
The new “American Idol” season, which will once again be hosted by Ryan Seacrest, does not have a premiere date.