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Katy Perry on ‘American Idol’: ‘It Just Reminds Me Of My Own Process’

The pop icon on being a mentor, paying it forward and standing out

Rolling Stone India May 02, 2019

Katy Perry. Photo: Courtesy of Chuff Media

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Pop powerhouse Katy Perry has amassed a cult following throughout her career by addressing taboos and wearing her colors with pride. The singer-songwriter whose roots were once firmly planted in gospel music has since gone on to dabble in pop-rock, electro-pop, dancehall and disco, never straying too far away from her signature pop persona. With chart slaying hits such as “I Kissed A Girl,” “Firework,” “This Is How We Do,” and “Chained To The Rhythm,” it’s safe to say that Perry knows a thing or two about navigating the turbulent waters of musical superstardom and she wants contestants on American Idol to benefit from her journey. On being back at the judges’ table for the new edition of the singing reality show, Perry says, “It’s so beautiful. Like it just really reminds me of my own process. It re-inspires me. And it’s that great American dream come true. Like we get to watch it from the infancy. And, you know, there are a few people I can’t stop thinking about based on their presence, their personality, their talent. The whole package.”

The American Idol judge prides the show on having a diverse group of participants, citing the uniqueness of the contestants who made it to the top 10 in the previous cycle. Her experience has compelled her to look for that instant identity while judging a performance, beyond the good voice and further to personality and star power.  “Of course, it’s a singing competition [so] if you can’t sing, you can’t be on this competition. But it’s not just that. You know, it’s not like American singer. It’s the Idol. And for the idol factor, you’ve got to have so many different things going for you and that’s what I’m always going to look for,” she reveals. Perry also stresses presentation and the willingness to demonstrate growth.

Since 2018, the judges have grown together as a family. Perry refers to Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie as her brother and uncle, while speaking of the great chemistry the trio share as they play on each other’s strengths. They’re used to witnessing an incredible top 10 and they’re not giving any contestant the benefit of the doubt. Perry, Richie and Bryan are collectively focused on “putting through real talent.”

While intent on finding the idol, Katy Perry also wants to pay it forward by caring. She says, “I care so much about these kids. And being a real mentor. And giving them advice that they can hopefully take and really apply so that they can win. I mean, I’m just so encouraged by these kids, and it makes me feel like a good person while doing it, so I love it.”

The judge is tuned into what America is looking for. “Some people can turn a little bit sour or like change when they come to Hollywood and they lose that vulnerability. They lose that relatability. They lose that connection. I think it’s just people that they feel really connected to,” she says, adding that at the end of the day, what people are looking for is that someone who stands out and checks all the boxes. Someone who has personality, a story and talent.

American Idol airs every weekend, in India, on Zee Cafe at 9 pm.

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