They’re back! “American Idol” judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie joined forces with longtime host Ryan Seacrest to announce that the iconic talent show’s next season will premiere on February 18, 2024.
ABC’s two-hour premiere will bring all four celebrities back together for their seventh season together, which they’ve already begun filming.
Here’s what you need to know:
‘American Idol’ Judges Bonded While Visiting Each Others’ Home Towns
To announce the news, Perry, Bryan, Richie and Seacrest appeared in a promo video for the new season, shared via social media on November 16, 2023. It followed a promo that ABC released a week prior, which gave viewers their first glimpse at the new season.
“This season is all about celebrating hometowns,” producer Melissa Elfar told WALB in Leesburg, Georgia, where Bryan hails from. “We’re starting with our judges and then it goes down to our contestants. So we are really here to learn about all of our contestants, their hometowns, where they come from, and really give people from all across the country a chance at stardom, a chance to make their dreams come true.”
On September 19, the foursome participated in a pep rally at Bryan’s old high school in his hometown, which has a population of about 3,500. Residents lined Main Street to welcome Bryan home and catch a glimpse of his famous friends, per WALB News. The judges then held auditions in the high school auditorium, on a set built by students and staff, according to Lee County High School’s Facebook page.
On October 2, the cast and crew moved on to Tuskegee, Alabama, where Richie attended Tuskegee University. He was excited to unveil a spot across from the college where he recently teamed up with Lowe’s to design “Hello Park,” to be completed in 2024. He, Bryan and Perry broke ground and planted trees together to get the project started, according to WDRV.
In mid-October, it was on to Perry’s hometown of Santa Barbara, California. A fan captured photos of the star greeting people lined along a street downtown.
The group also filmed auditions in Nashville and in L.A., where they told “Entertainment Tonight” how meaningful it was to see where one another grew up, which Bryan likened to “being on a field trip.”
“Every season we learn more about each other, especially this season,” Perry said.
It will be the seventh season for the foursome on ABC, but the 22nd season of the series overall, since the show first debuted on FOX in 2002.
2024 ‘Idol’ Contestants Beginning to Emerge via Social Media
The identities of some season 22 contestants are emerging via promos, social media and local media outlets. They include at least two singers who have competed on other TV talent shows, much like season 21 runner-up Megan Danielle and finalists Wé Ani and Marybeth Byrd, who were all previous contestants on “The Voice.”
On November 9, Mia posted one of the new “Idol” promos on Instagram and wrote, “I AUDITIONED FOR @americanidol?! 🙈🙈 the show premieres in FEBRUARY 2024 on ABC!! stay tuned.”
Meanwhile, British singer Scarlett Lee, who was the runner-up on “The X Factor UK” in 2018, confirmed she also auditioned for “Idol.” The singer, 26, shared the promo in which she’s briefly seen and wrote in the caption that it’s a “dream come true” for her.
Ironically, one of the show’s judges — original “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell — invited his fellow “Idol” judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul onto the British show in 2018, according to the Irish Independent. They helped him decide which contestants should move on to the live rounds and Lee was one of the singers they sent through.