Country superstar Luke Bryan and music icon Lionel Richie will round out Idol's judging panel, ABC announced Friday. Ryan Seacrest, who hosted Idolfor the length of its 15-season run on Fox, will return as host.
Idol, which ended its run at Fox less than two years ago largely due to declining ratings, returns on ABC in early 2018.
“I’m excited at the chance to help some deserving artists reach their dreams,” Bryan said in a statement accompanying ABC's announcement. “To be in a position in my career to help facilitate this along with the other judges is just a complete honor. It’s gonna be a blast!”
Richie said: “I am very excited to be joining Katy, Luke and Ryan on American Idol. As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table. It’s going to be so much fun!”
ABC program chief Channing Dungey said the pair "are the perfect additions" to the show.
“In their respective genres of music, both Luke and Lionel possess insurmountable popularity and award-winning talent that are undeniable, and we are lucky that they will help in paving the way for hopefuls pursuing their dreams on our stage,” she said.
Bryan, who has 18 No. 1 singles and sales topping 10 million albums, Thursday kicked off his ninth annual Farm Tour, which will visit six cities. Since the tour started, he has awarded 50 scholarships to local students from farming families in the communities where he has toured. He also is continuing his Huntin', Fishin', Lovin' Every Day Tour.
Richie, whose songs are known to generations worldwide, has sold more than 100 million albums. His awards include four Grammys and an Oscar. He began a headlining residency in Las Vegas in 2016 and toured with Mariah Carey earlier this year.