The big three are in the Big Easy! “American Idol” judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie were just spotted celebrating the show’s 21st birthday in New Orleans, complete with giant balloons and a marching band. Here’s what you need to know about their latest rendezvous…
Tourists Spot ‘Idol’ Judges Filming Season 21
Numerous tourists took to social media to express their surprise at seeing all three “American Idol” judges pop up in New Orleans on October 10, 2022.
One woman who was having brunch at Stanley in Jackson Square looked out the window from her table and suddenly saw the celebrities standing at the edge of the balcony next door, atop the well-known eatery Muriel’s. She took photos of the judges through the restaurant window.
“Only in NOLA!,” she wrote. “When you’re having brunch and Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan appear on the balcony across the way!”
Another person filmed from within the crowd gathered on the street, including a woman who yelled up to Richie, hoping to sing for him. In another video, the stars danced as a marching band made its way down the street playing Perry’s hit song, “Firework.”
Boston radio journalist Amy Cherry also shared her midday “celebrity sighting,” tweeting photos of trio on the balcony.
‘American Idol’ Stars Film With Fans & Contestants in New Orleans
The trio of judges were in New Orleans to film the next round of in-person auditions at the Four Seasons Hotel for contestants who made it through their virtual tryouts. But they also shot footage for scenes from the Big Easy.
In a video featured on the Daily Mail’s site, the judges can be seen filming several takes as they walk, laugh and dance along the red carpet, past a giant blue balloon arch with golden balloons that said “21” to acknowledge kicking off the 21st season. Eventually, the contestants also excitedly filed through the door to begin their individual auditions, hoping to earn a ticket to Hollywood.
One of the people auditioning in New Orleans is 17-year-old Ethan Slaughter of LaFayette, Georgia, whose proud dad posted a photo of him in front of the big “Idol” sign outside the Four Seasons Hotel.
Ethan, who plays classic country music, appeared on a local TV station back home and revealed that though he was leaving for New Orleans on October 7, the production crew’s mission to keep details secret meant he wouldn’t find out his schedule or even where he was staying until he arrived.
Another “Idol” hopeful is young Sammi Wallace, who was featured in a celebratory post by the School of Rock in her hometown of Vienna, Virginia. They shared a photo of her riding the escalator with her acoustic guitar case, and wished her well on her adventure.
Neither contestant will be allowed to publicly share what happened during their in-person auditions in New Orleans until the auditions air early next year. Producers require contestants to sign non-disclosure agreements so that results stay under wraps.
Perry, Richie and Bryan — along with host Ryan Seacrest — reunited in Las Vegas on September 25 for the first set of “judge city” auditions of the new season. New Orleans is the second city, and they’ll hold their final auditions in Nashville later this fall. For singers who have not yet thrown their hat into the ring, there are three online open auditions left, to be held on October 18 and 25, and November 1.