The judging panel for ABC’s newly rebooted version of American Idol is finally coming together. Katy Perry was announced as the first judge shortly after the new show was confirmed in May, but producers are now officially announcing country star Luke Bryan as the show’s second judge.
There’s no word yet on the show’s third judge, though rumor has it the show will stick to a three-judge panel rather than the four judges used in later seasons of the original series.
Ryan Seacrest, the only constant on an ever-changing panel of judges from the original American Idol, will return to host ABC’s rebooted version.
The network paid a high price to get Perry onboard as the first judge, luring her away from a potential gig on rival series The Voice with a $25 million first season salary.
It’s unlikely that Bryan will earn quite that much, considering his star power is not as big as Perry’s, but he’s still expected to draw a significant salary.
Bryan started out as a Nashville songwriter for his friends Travis Tritt and Billy Currington before setting out to release his own albums.
The country star has released five albums in the past ten years with the last three all debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Album chart.
Rumors of Bryan’s involvement with American Idol began earlier this month, but he wasn’t confirmed as a judge until today’s announcement.
Auditions for the new revival of American Idol are already taking place around the country this month, with the show set to make its debut on ABC next March. The show’s original network, FOX, had hoped to bring the show back after an absence of several more years, but producers grew impatient with that plan and signed a lucrative new deal with ABC after talks with rival NBC fell through.