This is American Idol...making a comeback!

ABC's revival of American Idol is coming on March 11 and the new judging panel, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, is determined to give America its new star...but it wouldn't have happened if Ryan Seacrest, who hosted all 15 previous seasons, didn't return.

"We can't do the show with Ryan," executive producer Trish Kinane said at the 2018 Winter TCA Press Tour on Monday. "Ryan has been there right from the beginning and it wouldn't be the same without him."

For Seacrest, who added taking over as Kelly Ripa's co-host on Live With Kelly and Ryan, moving to New York for the gig, to his ever-busy schedule last year, the decision to come back "was a logistic thing."

With the original host in place, ABC decided to find three new faces to join the franchise and take over from judges of Idol past, including Simon Cowell, its most infamous judge thanks to his no-holds-barred critiques.

So will Perry, Bryan or Richie serve as the new Idol's "mean" judge? 

American Idol, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest

ABC

"I'm blunt, but I can't be mean 'cause I'm a woman," Perry joked, before Kinane said, "She's not mean, but she's brutally honest."

Perry then went on to say no one is the new Simon Cowell because he's an executive.

"I love Simon, he's my favorite judge," she said. " think we all have our expertise. Luke can speak on a lot more country things, Lionel can speak on everything because he's a legend, I have my pop lane... I think we all bring strengths."

 

And for the "Swish Swish" singer, the "biggest gift" of joining the show after "circling" it for the several years has been being inspired by the aspiring contestants, recalling how she struggled early on in her career.

"The biggest gift for me personally is being re-inspired by their raw dreams, their raw ambition, their hope, and be like, I was there ten years ago," she said. "I had two cars repossessed, I had three labels drop me, I was couch-surfing...I was eating Trader Joes' frozen chicken nuggets every day of the week. I know exactly where you are."

American Idol premieres Sunday, March 11 on ABC.

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