Lionel Richie Talks ‘American Idol’ Season 20, Launches Ice Cream Flavor

Lionel Richie American Idol

ABC Lionel Richie appeared on the "American Idol" showstopper round by video.

The new season of ABC’sAmerican Idol” will not begin airing until sometime in early 2022, likely in February. Now, “American Idol” judge Lionel Richie is opening up about what the new season might be looking like.

Richie told Billboard that he’s excited to be returning for the upcoming season, especially because they’ll once again be in person for the season.

Last year, many of the aspects of the show took place in person, but some auditions were virtual, and family members mostly only appeared in a virtual capacity until the live shows.

Richie is ‘Excited’ to be Back in Person With an Audience

Season 20 is set to be even bigger than season 19, including the fact that they are hoping to have a much larger in-person audience.

“‘Idol’ is a fabulous experience for the people trying out and for the judges,” Richie told Billboard. “Having said that, the hardest thing to do is to judge somebody when you’re not in the same room. So it’s great to be back face to face. We get a chance to hear and feel these young talented people.”

The interview was part of Richie’s promotion of his new ice cream collaboration with “Dancing With the Stars” host and executive producer Tyra Banks, who founded SMiZE Cream. The collaboration is a flavor called “All Night Love.”

“What can I say is, it’s ‘All Night Love,'” Richie shared with Billboard. “I am so happy to have some of my favorite hometown tastes featured in my very own SMiZE Cream flavor. It’s been fun to work with the incredible Tyra Banks and to be able to share this special treat with everyone.”

All Three Judges Re-Signed For ‘American Idol’ Season 20

Lionel Richie is not the only judge who will be appearing on “American Idol” season 20. He’ll be joined by Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, who both re-upped their contract with the show for the upcoming season. They’ll be joined by Ryan Seacrest as the host. Seacrest has been with the show since season 1 when it was airing on Fox.

“Luke, Katy, Lionel and Ryan are music and industry icons that have become synonymous with ‘Idol’ on ABC,” said Rob Mills, executive vice president, unscripted and alternative Entertainment, Walt Disney Television in a press release. “Their star power is unmatched, and their support is a gift to our contestants that have deeply benefited from their wisdom over the past four seasons—and they’re ready to do it again. As we begin a momentous season, I think it’s safe to say this dream team has officially cemented their legacy on ‘Idol.’”

Showrunner and executive producer Megan Wolflick agreed, adding, “‘American Idol’ is still the original music show that genuinely creates superstars and continues to evolve to allow true artists to succeed in this unique business. The chemistry and passion Katy, Luke, Lionel and Ryan bring is second to none.”

“American Idol” will return in early 2022 for the monumental season 20.

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