Luke Bryan Broke His Silence On His Alleged American Idol Feud With Lionel Richie, But What About That Jelly Roll Rumor?

 American Idol coach Lionel Richie stands with his arms outstretched in the middle of a street at night, with fellow judge Luke Bryan hugging him around the waist.
American Idol coach Lionel Richie stands with his arms outstretched in the middle of a street at night, with fellow judge Luke Bryan hugging him around the waist.

American Idol is well on its way to crowning its Season 22 winner, at which time the singing competition will also bid farewell to judge Katy Perry. Since the “California Gurls” singer announced her impending exit in February, her replacement has been a big topic of conversation amongst Idol’s fans. Jelly Roll’s name has continued to circulate, and Perry’s fellow judges — Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie — also seem to have opinions. In fact, one tabloid alleged the two are feuding over their colleague’s replacement, and Bryan has broken his silence on the issue.

Luke Bryan Addresses Alleged Feud With Fellow American Idol Judge Lionel Richie

There’s been no official word from American Idol’s producers about what will happen to the judging panel for Season 23 and beyond. Who will replace Katy Perry? Will Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie return or will the show start fresh with three new faces? Those are big questions, and during an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Bryan was asked if that uncertainty was causing tension between him and the “Hello” singer. The host called the Idol judges “the next Drake and Kendrick Lamar,” to which Bryan sarcastically replied:

Yeah, me and Lionel, it’s tense on the set. You know Lionel, how combative he is. You saw how awful he was on The Greatest Night in Pop, you know, how he just tried to ruin that whole scenario.

Luke Bryan referenced the documentary about the biggest names in music coming together in 1985 to sing “We Are the World” (available to stream with a Netflix subscription) to point out how ridiculous it would be to categorize his co-worker as an antagonistic person. When Jimmy Kimmel suggested that perhaps Bryan was the problem, not Lionel Richie, the “Country Girl” singer acknowledged the rumor, saying:

Yeah, I read the tabloid, and I’m like, ‘Me and Lionel in a feud over Katy’s replacement.’ It’s like, you can’t feud with Lionel. Lionel’s like, I mean he’s like apple pie, you know, he’s like the most wholesome human. So me and Lionel are good.

Life&Style reported on May 2 that the set of American Idol had become “a real claw-fest,” with Luke Bryan allegedly getting annoyed that Lionel Richie has been “so pushy” about getting one of his friends on the show. Bryan reportedly thinks the decision should be left to the producers, but that hasn’t kept the judges — including Katy Perry — from pitching some big names. And that brings us to Jelly Roll.

Jelly Roll performing at Ryman Auditorium
Jelly Roll performing at Ryman Auditorium

Did Jelly Roll Accept The American Idol Gig?

Technically, yes, after Katy Perry made it known that Jelly Roll had completely won her over when he appeared on American Idol, the “Need a Favor” singer said he accepted the offer. Not so fast, though, because he quickly followed that up by clarifying that nobody has actually asked him to join the show. When asked if he’d consider the job, he told Audacy (via People):

Of course! Consider?! I’ve accepted the job, and they haven’t offered it.

Jelly Roll seemed flattered that Katy Perry said such kind things about him — both publicly and privately — and it sounds like he’s more than open to continuing that conversation. However, it doesn’t seem likely that American Idol would move forward with an all-male judging panel, so if Jelly Roll was offered the job, there’s the question of if a woman might replace an existing judge (one former winner has thrown her hat in the ring) or Idol could always increase the number of judges to four.

We’ll have to wait to see what happens, but before Katy Perry becomes the latest judge to leave American Idol, there’s still plenty of competition left to see. Tune in for new episodes at 8 p.m. ET Sundays on ABC, and check out our 2024 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming soon.