Sugarland and Cam to Duet With Top ‘American Idol’ Contestants, Scotty McCreery Set to Take on Mentorship Role
Things are heating up for the new, revamped season of American Idol. Last year, the judges panel was announced, with Luke Bryan representing country music alongside fellow musicians Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. As this year's premiere draws closer, more star appearances have been announced -- including some more familiar faces.
Artists across multiple genres have signed on to share the stage with the television show's 24 finalists. From country music's corner, Sugarland and Cam will make appearances as duet partners on the show. Another artist who will appear, Bebe Rexha, has a country connection: Her song "Meant to Be," recorded with Florida Georgia Line, was released as a single to country radio and quickly climbed to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in late 2017. It has since spent 12 weeks at the top, making "Meant to Be" the longest-running single with a lead female vocalist ever to remain at No. 1.
Other artists set to duet with American Idol's contestants include Luis Fonsi, who is the artist behind 2017's ubiquitous "Despacito," as well as legendary R&B singer Toni Braxton.
The reality show has also unveiled some of the celebrities slotted to appear as mentors for the show's 24 finalists. Radio personality Bobby Bones announced via Twitter in February that he will be mentoring the top contestants, and former Idol winner Scotty McCreery is also set to join Bones as a mentor. The country singer, whose new album Seasons Change is slotted for release this March, recently told Taste of Country that he's excited to take on his new role within the television show.
"It's exciting," McCreery says. "I've already gone out to LA and filmed a mentor session with some of the contestants. The contestants were cool, great voices, and they seem like they have great heads on their shoulders. It should be a good year."
That being said, there is one aspect of the reboot that McCreery wishes the show hadn't changed. In the new format, Idol will move away from mixing in footage of the auditions that don't go as well as the singers who perform them might have hoped. The showrunners explained that this decision was to keep the program from becoming "exploitative" or angling for cheap laughs at the expense of someone who gave a bad audition.
"I really don't like it, honestly," McCreery says of that decision. "I feel like that was a big part of Idol. It was so fun that you'd see awesome singers and the folks that just ... weren't. I wish they'd keep those in there," he adds.
The new season of American Idol will premiere with a two-hour special on March 11 at 8PM ET on ABC.
What Are Country Music's 'American Idol' Contestants Up to Now?
The Most Unforgettable Country 'American Idol' Auditions