Pop star Katy Perry is the first judge to be named for the new season of “American Idol,” which was revived by ABC for the 2017-2018 season.
The show, which pulled in 38 million viewers at its peak and has “produced over 375 No. 1s to date, counting all national and domestic charts,” according to Billboard, previously aired for 15 seasons from 2002 to 2016 on ABC’s rival network Fox. It was canceled in 2016 amid declining ratings.
Perry’s successes as a pop star read similarly. Since releasing her debut album “One of the Boys” in 2008, she has sold more than 100 million records and has been nominated for 12 Grammy and five American Music Awards.
“I am honored and thrilled to be the first judge bringing back the American Idol tradition of making dreams come true for incredible talents with authentic personalities and real stories,” Perry said in a statement. “I’m always listening to new music, and love discovering diamonds in the rough — from mentoring young artists on my label, or highlighting new artists on my tours, I want to bring it back to the music.”
She also posted a note on Twitter saying that she was thrilled that “American Idol” is back.
“American Idol” isn’t the first deceased pop culture relic that Perry helped resurrect. Following the success of her debut, MTV pegged Perry to help revive its “Unplugged” series, which features artists performing in an acoustic setting.
It was fairly unprecedented for a pop singer to participate in the series, which was best known for stripping down loud rock bands like Nirvana or presenting singer-songwriters like Tori Amos in an intimate setting.
Of MTV’s decision, AllMusic wrote, “It makes perfect sense that MTV Unplugged chose Katy, since it benefits them both: she approaches the show with the respect it once garnered, while she uses the show as a way to rebrand herself as a serious pop auteur.”
The same can arguably be said of her role on the new “American Idol.”
ABC’s announcement came Tuesday, not long after Perry revealed that she has a new album coming out soon from Capitol Records called “Witness,” which drops on June 9.
She also recently released a music video for “Bon Appétit,” her collaboration with the hip-hop group Migos. In the video, a team of chefs wearing toque blanches covered her in flour and vegetables, placed her on a cutting board and then dropped into a pot of boiling water. Later she is basted in oil.
The other judges for the “American Idol” reboot remain unknown, but rumors abound. Citing an anonymous source, Us Weekly reported that Chris Daughtry, a former contestant from the show, was tapped to be a judge.
The claim now carries a bit less credibility since in the same story Us Weekly cited a second source who allegedly said, “They wanted a panel of all ex contestants,” a group Perry does not belong to.
Still, it was enough to stir up some controversy in the music world.
Even though he is one of the best-selling “Idol” alums, Daughtry placed fourth when he was on the show. Some think it’s egregious that ABC would choose a former contestant who didn’t win to be judge. Among them is Taylor Hicks, the contestant who beat Daughtry in season 5.
“I think a winner should be, personally. Because what you go through to win the show is a lot different than what you go through when you’re third or fourth or fifth or tenth,” Hicks said on the Domenick Nati Show. “If they were going to have a judge that’s from the show … I would feel like a winner would be the best suited.”
One thing’s certain: ABC has done a fine job drumming up publicity for the reboot — and the show’s producers seem to know it.
“All of the intense speculation surrounding the comeback of ‘American Idol’ demonstrates just how popular and powerful this brand remains,” Peter Hurwitz, chief executive of Core Media, which produces “Idol,” said in a statement. “ABC shares our belief in the enduring value of ‘Idol’ and will provide us with the perfect new home to showcase the gold standard of singing competition shows.”
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