Lionel Richie Wants Taylor Swift or Kelly Clarkson to Replace Katy Perry on American Idol

Lionel Richie, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson
Monica Schipper;Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy;Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images(3)

Now that Katy Perry has announced she is leaving American Idol, Lionel Richie has two superstars in mind to replace her: Taylor Swift or Kelly Clarkson.

Richie, 74, Perry, 39, and Luke Bryan have served as the judges since the revival of American Idol began on ABC in 2018. In February, Perry announced she was leaving the show after the current season to focus on her music career.

The former Commodores lead singer hopes to recruit Swift or Clarkson to fill her chair.

“Taylor, if you’re available, we’d like to have you out here. Call me,” he told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published Tuesday, April 23.

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Lionel Richie Wants Taylor Swift or Kelly Clarkson to Replace Katy Perry on American Idol

(L-R) Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie.
Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Richie knows that Swift is busy, so if she is not able to join him on American Idol, he would love to work with Clarkson, 42, who won the first Idol competition in 2002. He told ET that he ran into Clarkson over the weekend, which made him realize she would be a perfect replacement for Perry.

“I didn’t want to bring that up,” the “All Night Long” singer said. “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.”

He added, “Kelly, if you don’t have anything else to do, I’d like to drop that out there. Big fan!”

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Clarkson previously served as coach on The Voice from 2018 to 2021, and again in 2023.

The two stars were scheduled to work together as mentors on the Duets reality series in 2012. However, Richie left the show due to a schedule conflict and was replaced by John Legend.

Since Clarkson films The Kelly Clarkson Show in New York City, she might not be in a position to join American Idol, which films in L.A. Richie said he knows selecting a new Idol judge will not be easy.

“Finding someone to replace Katy with a sense of humor, it’s gotta be fun but no ego because we’re gonna insult each other so much,” he quipped.

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Meanwhile, Perry recently revealed her own choice to join Richie and Bryan, 47.

“I gotta say Jelly Roll was crazy when he came on the show,” she told E! News on Monday, April 15. “I was convinced at anything he said. He could run for president, he could be my pastor, I might go back to church for him. He could sell me anything.”

Perry added, “I love him. And to have any of these guys plus Jelly on the show would be amazing. I love you, Jelly!”

Perry has not released a new album in four years, and this week she teased new music.

The “Dark Horse” singer told Access Hollywood that her relationship with Orlando Bloom heavily influenced her upcoming album.

“I just have yet to make a record from a place of feeling really happy and whole and full of love,” she said backstage at American Idol on Monday, April 15. The couple were engaged in February 2019, and they share daughter Daisy, 3.

“Sometimes artists are like, ‘Oh, that’s boring, you want to make music from kind of like a tougher place,’ but actually it’s very bright and joyful, like pure joy and fun and playful and celebratory and a party,” Perry added.