Say You, Say Me | Say Lionel Richie Is Joining ‘American Idol’ as Judge

In the nick of time, American Idol has secured its third and final judge: Lionel Richie. The veteran pop star signed on just a few days before shooting is set to begin Tuesday, TMZ reported.

Lionel Richie performs at Madison Square Garden

Lionel Richie performs in Concert at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 19, 2017 in New York City. Richie is reportedly signing on with American Idol as one of three judges. | Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Richie’s fellow judges include country crooner Luke Bryan, who joined the show’s ABC reboot earlier in September. The third judge is pop performer Katy Perry, who was the first to sign on, in May.

Richie, 68, is a singer, songwriter, actor, and producer who is known for being a member of funk and soul band the Commodores. He launched a solo career in 1982 and is known for hits “Truly,” “Running with the Night,” “Stuck on You,” “Hello,” and “Say You, Say Me.”

The pay contract Richie accepted for Idol was for around $10 million, TMZ reported, adding that Bryan will be paid $13 million for the show.

Perry secured a $25 million paycheck for Idol, which was possibly more than half the budget the show has for talent, Variety reported in May.

With Ryan Seacrest having signed on as host with a $10-$15 million paycheck, “it’s going to be difficult to turn a profit unless the show is an out-of-the-park home run,” TMZ noted.

Seacrest and the three new judges join Idol for its premiere season ABC. Fox aired its 15th and final season in 2016. It had been rumored that singer Kelly Clarkson might sign on as a judge, but Clarkson ended up joining The Voice as a coach earlier this month. Idol launched Clarkson to fame after she won the first season of the reality show.

The next season of Idol is set to premiere in early 2018.

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