‘American Idol’: Lionel Richie Shares Who Should Replace Katy Perry

Katy Perry is exiting American Idol after this current season, and Lionel Richie already has his picks for her replacement. It was announced in February that after serving as a judge on the singing competition series since its revival in 2018, Perry will be stepping away once the season ends to focus more on her music. As of now, her replacement has yet to be revealed, but Richie told Entertainment Tonight that he recently ran into the first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, and thinks she would be perfect.

I didn't want to bring that up," Richie admitted. "Not only did I think about it, I slipped important notes. You know what I'm saying, Kelly, we've been together a long time. Kelly, if you don't have anything else to do, I'd like to drop that out there. Big fan!" Not only did Clarkson win the first American Idol, but she's also no stranger to being on the other side of a singing competition. She served as a coach on Seasons 14-21 and 23 on The Voice, so it's not completely out there. She is the host of her own talk show in New York, so that might complicate things.

What might be a tad out there, however, is Richie's other pick for judge: Taylor Swift. The pop superstar just released her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department, which is already breaking records, and she's preparing to head back out on the road to continue her record-breaking The Eras Tour next month. That didn't stop Richie from jokingly saying, "By the way, Taylor, if you're available, we'd like to have you out here. Call me!"

Even if it might be a little far-fetched for Swift to be a judge on American Idol, mostly due to her very busy schedule, it wouldn't be hard for her to stop by for a performance or even serve as a celebrity mentor. It shouldn't be long until American Idol lands on Perry's replacement, and it will be intriguing to see who will be judging alongside Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan next season.

Meanwhile, there are still a handful of episodes left of Season 22. The series is in the midst of the live shows, with the Top 10 being revealed next week. The finale is set to air on Sunday, May 19, where the next American Idol will be crowned and Katy Perry takes her final bow on the Idol stage. New episodes air on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.