Lionel Richie Says Shock of Katy Perry Leaving ‘American Idol’ Made Him “Run off the Road”

Breaking into the music industry back in 2001, Katy Perry showcased her star talent with hit songs like “Roar”, “Hot N Cold”, “Firework”, and “California Gurls.” On top of numerous No. 1 singles, the singer also sold over 143 million records and holds four Guinness World Records. She even branched into Hollywood, starring in the Smurf franchise as Smurfette. With such a prosperous career, Perry eventually joined American Idol. And while she spent several seasons on the show, she recently announced her departure, leaving fans and even Lionel Richie shocked. 

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With season 22 of American Idol premiering on Sunday, fans are continuously discussing Perry leaving the show. Marking her last season, her fellow judge, Richie, discussed the shocking news when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday. While he admitted he wasn’t “mad at Katy” about her decision, he added, “It just made me run off the road. When I first heard about it, my phone blew up.”

Excited for what the future holds for Perry, Richie explained why he loves being a part of American Idol and why it makes sense for the singer to leave. “I love coming on the show here with you, and the reason I’m doing American Idol is because I have 400 years of stories and a life in the music business. I have things that I’ve done. And so when Katy says I want to go and create some stories, remember that she’s young…But the point is, is that you have to take some time and actually be an artist.”

As for who will replace Perry on American Idol, Richie remained silent on the matter, noting how the showrunners aren’t letting any secrets leak. “They’re keeping tightlipped. I don’t even know, but I’m telling you it’s going to be really interesting.” 

Katy Perry Shares Her Love For Lionel Richie And Luke Bryan

Also appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Perry broke the news of her departure. At the time, she told Kimmel, “I think this probably will be my last show, my last season for Idol. I mean I love Idol so much. It’s connected me with the heart of America, but I feel like I need to go out and feel that pulse to my own beat…”

[RELATED: Katy Perry Fans Are Ecstatic Over News She’s Leaving American Idol]

Sharing her love for both Richie and Luke Bryan, Perry insisted, “I love the show so much but I wanna go and see the world and maybe bring new music.”

Be sure to tune in to Perry’s final season on American Idol, premiering on Sunday, February 18, on ABC. 

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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