After Ryan Seacrest confirmed that he's coming back to American Idol's ABC reboot, the only missing piece seems to be the remainder of the judging panel. While fans know that Katy Perry has signed on to helm the show, her cohorts haven't been announced yet. According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, the show's producers do have a shortlist and negotiations are set to start pretty soon.
THR notes that singer-songwriter Charlie Puth is reportedly in the running to join Perry, but sources say that he's the wildcard in the bunch. Seeing as he's a very young choice, it could be seen as a way for the singing competition to appeal to a younger demographic that's familiar with his radio-friendly tunes. But that same reasoning could be a strike against him, too. Older viewers may not recognize the fresh young face and tune out.
Luke Bryan is another name being tossed into the ether. Sources tell THR that he's definitely a front-runner for a spot at the judging table. Not only does ABC have a cozy relationship with Nashville and country music — it broadcasts the Country Music Awards every year — having a country crooner on the panel brings in a huge swath of music lovers. Country artist Keith Urban held down the judging panel for four seasons, so the show's producers may want to have Bryan in the mix to replace him.
Lionel Richie is another favored pick, with THR citing him as an "internal favorite" among ABC and producers Fremantle and Core Media. Though there hasn't been any confirmation from any of the artists, THR adds that there isn't likely to be a huge name coming to the show. Perry famously signed a $25 million contract, which the trade paper says is a huge chunk of the show's budget. Seeing how the original Fox run was plagued with budget issues thanks to huge names like Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, and Steven Tyler as judges, ABC is hoping to find a balance between high-watt star power and more wallet-friendly picks.
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