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Lionel Richie shares his reaction to Katy Perry’s announcement about leaving ‘American Idol.’

Lionel Richie was taken aback when he learned about Katy Perry’s decision to leave “American Idol.” During his visit to “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” the 74-year-old music icon humorously recounted how he found out about Perry’s departure from the show.

“My phone exploded with messages,” Richie said, joking about how the news caused quite a stir. He admitted he was unaware of Perry’s decision before she publicly announced it on Kimmel’s show last week, but he understood her reasons.

“Katy wants to create her own stories, and she’s still young. As an artist, it’s important to live life and gather experiences,” he explained to host Jimmy Kimmel, 56.

Lionel Richie Reacts to Katy Perrys Departure from American Idol on Jimmy Kimmel Live
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Richie, reflecting on the potential replacement for Perry, who has been a judge on the show for seven seasons, acknowledged that he’s in the dark about who it might be. “The producers haven’t shared any details with me yet, but I’m excited. The new judge has big shoes to fill, given Katy’s humor and expertise,” he noted.

Perry made her exit announcement on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last week, explaining that she wanted to pursue personal projects, including new music set for release in 2024. “It’s time for me to explore new horizons and connect with my music,” she said. “I’ve had a great run on ‘Idol,’ but now I need to follow my own rhythm.”

Lionel Richie Reacts to Katy Perrys Departure
Photo: Eric Mccandless/abc Via Getty Images

Perry also expressed her affection for her fellow judges, Richie and Luke Bryan, and hinted that they were aware of her new direction, as they had seen her spending time in the studio. “Lionel and Luke have been incredibly supportive. They knew something was up when I started focusing more on my music again,” she added.

Kimmel probed Perry about who might take her place on the show, to which she playfully responded, “I’m making room for new opportunities and growth.”