Come hell or high water, ABC is extremely determined to return Fremantle Media’s singing reality contest “American Idol” to the airwaves by 2018. And they’re not going to let any setbacks or criticism deter them. Not the refusal of Simon Cowell to return to the show he popularized as judge, not the fact that their first-season winner Kelly Clarkson was coaching for rival singing competition “The Voice” on NBC, and not the lambasting by original network Fox regarding Fremantle’s eagerness to revive the show so soon after the 2016 “farewell season”.

In fact, they’ve taken steps to stamp some stability in this return season by finally naming their first judge for the show’s ABC era: Katy Perry.

Prime casting

In an announcement that certainly made any fans of Katy Perry “roar”, as it were, ABC has signed up the singer to be one of the judges for “American Idol” season 16. The network announced this to New York advertisers at a presentation held Tuesday May 16. It may not seem much at first glance, but ABC snapping up Perry for the “Idol” revival is tantamount to killing two birds with one stone. The singer who wowed listeners with “Bon Appetit” and “Roar” has been a plum prospect by various singing reality competitions as a judge, and the fact that ABC managed to claim her first is a major boost of legitimacy to the iconic show’s return.

Perry herself has issued a statement regarding her first stint as a major singing competition judge, and on “Idol” to boot. “I am honored and thrilled to be the first judge bringing back the American Idol tradition of making dreams come true for incredible talents with authentic personalities and real stories.” She has also mentioned her great interest in discovering new talents, describing them as diamonds in the rough.

ABC refutes Fox

Meanwhile, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey has aired his own response to Fox’s haranguing of both them and Fremantle Media for rushing to return “American Idol” on television. Defying the original network’s market research saying that fans of the franchise would be too tired to get excited over “Idol” after the heavily marketed 2016 “farewell” season 15, Dungey opines that now is actually the best time for a revival.

“What I love about it, personally, [is that Idol is] about uplifting stories about people who make their dreams come true — and that’s our sweet spot at ABC,” he counters. “All of our franchises deal in that. For me, that makes it feel like the perfect home at the perfect time.”

On Katy Perry’s end, she has “Witness”, her first full album in four years, set to release on June 9, with a North America tour starting September 7. That’s plenty of free time before she sits as judge on the return of “American Idol”.