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American Idol Rounds Out the Judges’ Panel With a Music Icon

Just when it looked like time was going to run out, ABC has (finally!) secured the third and final judge for the network’s American Idol reboot — just before filming is set to begin. And, in exciting news for fans of the reality singing competition, that final judge is none other than music legend Lionel Richie.

The news comes close on the heels of confirmation that country superstar Luke Bryan would be joining the judges’ panel alongside the first-signed judge, Katy Perry. In a statement via ABC, Richie said, “As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table. It’s going to be so much fun!”

More: The New American Idol Has Snagged Country Superstar Luke Bryan as a Judge

On social media, Richie reiterated his excitement with a string of tweets, including a short video teasing the new season and talent-stacked panel.

More: Katy Perry’s American Idol Paycheck Revealed, & Wow!

Richie isn’t the only one excited about his new gig, either. In addition to the predictable outpouring of support from fans, fellow judge Bryan couldn’t help gushing over the news that he’d be sitting next to his own personal idol, whom he called his “hero.”

Sofia Richie, Lionel’s daughter, also expressed her enthusiasm over her dad’s new role with a sweet post shared to her Instagram.

More: Mariah Carey Had Some Words for Lionel Richie About Judging American Idol

Although we won’t get to see the trio of judges in action until the series premiere in the 2018 season, Perry, Bryan and Richie are slated to make their first joint appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday.

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