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Lionel Richie has a big name (or two) in mind to replace Katy Perry on 'American Idol'

Richie's top choice would be coming full circle if she returned to "American Idol" as a judge.
/ Source: TODAY

Lionel Richie has two of pop music's biggest stars in mind as possible replacements for his fellow "American Idol" judge Katy Perry.

Following the show's live episode on April 22, Richie opened up to "Entertainment Tonight" about which music industry celeb he would like to sit next to him and country star Luke Bryan when Perry exits the show after its current season.

His choices? Original "Idol" champ Kelly Clarkson or 14-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift.

“Finding someone to replace Katy with a sense of humor, it’s gotta be fun but no ego because we’re gonna insult each other so much,” said the "Hello" singer, 74.

Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift
Lionel Richie's choices for the next "American Idol" judge: Kelly Clarkson, left, or Taylor Swift.NBC, Getty Images

Richie said he recently ran into Clarkson, who was the first to win the singing competition, in 2002. Though he didn't mention his idea of her returning to the show as a judge, it was definitely on his mind.

“I didn’t want to bring that up,” Richie explained. “Not only did I think about it, I slipped important notes. You know what I’m saying, Kelly, we’ve been together a long time."

“Kelly, if you don’t have anything else to do, I’d like to drop that out there. Big fan!” he added.

Richie’s idea about Clarkson sitting next to him at the judges' table isn’t exactly far-fetched. The “Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)” singer has previously served as a coach on Seasons 14-21 and Season 23 of "The Voice."

On April 22, Richie posted several pics of him and Clarkson together on Instagram. He captioned them, “The #idol crossover you didn’t know you needed! Great running into the one and only @kellyclarkson this weekend!”

As for other possible "Idol" judges, Richie told "ET" that Perry's one-time rival Taylor Swift would also be a good fit.

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan
Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan have served as the judges for "American Idol" since the 2018 season.Eric McCandless / Disney

“By the way, Taylor, if you’re available, we’d like to have you out here. Call me!” he joked.

The "Dancing on the Ceiling" singer's comments come more than two months after Perry announced on the Feb. 12 episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that she will be leaving "Idol" after the show's current season.

“I think this probably will be my last show, my last season for ‘Idol,’” Perry said. “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. You what I’m saying, Jimmy?”

The "Roar" singer joined "Idol,” along with Richie and Bryan, when the series was revived by ABC and was reintroduced in 2018 after 15 seasons on Fox.

“I love them so much,” Perry said of her co-judges, before confirming that the two men knew she would soon be announcing her exit from the show.

“They figure I’ve been in the studio for a while so they figured something is coming,” she explained.

During an April 19 visit to TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, Perry's fiancée, Orlando Bloom, mentioned that the COVID pandemic had forced the pair to put their wedding on hold. He also seemingly let it slip that Perry, who hasn’t released an album since 2020’s “Smile,” has "new music coming."

“Ah, yes, I better be careful about what I say,” said the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star as he playfully put his head in his hands.

“There’s a lot of cool things happening,” he added. “But, essentially, there’s a schedule. You can imagine, there’s many moving parts to get us to do something like that.”