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'American Idol' revival reportedly completes judging panel with Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/29/2017 

American Idol has reportedly finalized its judging panel for ABC's 2018 revival.

According to sources connected with the show's production, ABC and Fremantle North America have hired American Idol's three-person judging panel for Season 16 -- Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and the previously-revealed Katy Perry, TMZ reported Friday.

The official announcement of judges will reportedly be made as early as Friday night, September 29, considering shooting begins Tuesday, October 3.

However, the Idol's announcement could be delayed if Richie and Bryan's lawyers attempt to continue negotiations.

The production sources told TMZ the show has blown its budget sky high, largely because Perry had already been promised a whopping $25 million contract and Ryan Seacrest will be making somewhere between $10 and $15 million to host the series.

Bryan reportedly agreed to serve as a judge for around $13 million, while Richie -- a singer, songwriter and record producer -- will be receiving close to $10 million.

Reports Bryan, a country star, signed a deal with American Idol surfaced earlier this week.

In addition to Richie and Bryan, Charlie Puth had also reportedly been in talks with ABC and Fremantle to join the upcoming season of American Idol as a judge.

ABC's revival of American Idol has been slowly taking shape since the series' return was officially announced in May. Perry was almost immediately revealed as a judge by the network after the deal was made.

Perry gushed to Seacrest -- who hosted all 15 prior seasons of Idol when it aired on Fox -- during an OnAir with Ryan Seacrest radio-show interview last month about what it would potentially be like to work with Richie on American Idol.

"I'm really pulling for Lionel, because I think Lionel is an icon, and not only that, if you've ever seen or met Lionel, he just knows how to charm the whole room," Perry explained at the time. "He's such an artisan with words and his presence just lights -- it brightens the whole room. So, I love Lionel."

American Idol is reportedly slated to premiere in early March, shortly after ABC's March 4 broadcast of the Oscars.

Lionel Richie/Instagram

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