Newly named American Idol judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry appeared on Good Morning America earlier today to talk about the singing competition’s reboot, but they couldn’t get around the deadly Las Vegas shooting that occurred two days before at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Bryan touched on the symbolic aspect of such an attack on a concert in the United States, grappling with what it meant that so many Americans had died at a country concert on American soil.
“When they showed the faces of the victims – they’re our fans, they embody America,” he said. “It’s a country music festival, but it’s America. It’s bigger than – it goes so far beyond. You heard about it at the Ariana Grande concert and now here it is in front of us. It was one of the most heartbreaking days of my life and for this country too.”
He also had a chance to speak with his friend Jason Aldean, who was performing onstage when the shooting began.
“Hearing one of your best friends shaken up like that, knowing they’ll never be able to unsee these things, you get lumps and you get nauseated,” he said. “Katy and I and Lionel, we talked about it, there’s just gotta be something we can do, from the mental health issue to all of the issues that are causing these things.”
While Bryan, who’s currently headlining his annual Farm Tour, didn’t offer specifics, Perry quickly chimed in with a call to action and legislation around firearms.
“The one thing we have to remember is that prayer without action is powerless and we have to have some action,” she said. “We have to an unfortunate good hard look at what our rules and what our boundaries are with gun reform.”
“We have to put our foot down more than sending our condolences,” she said. “Because honestly I get really sick to my stomach just everyone sending their condolences and going back to selfie-ing, and doing their regular stuff.”
In another segment, the three judges chatted about the 2018 return of American Idol and what they all bring to the table in this new version. Perry and Bryan touched on the rigors of becoming a successful musician. Richie, the senior member of the panel, thought wisdom gleaned from his lengthy career as a performer and songwriter would prove useful.
“What do we do with all of this knowledge at the other end of the career?” he said. “Well, We have to give it back. We share it. I kept thinking, ‘Do I write the book? Do I do the documentary? No, I just become a judge right quick.'”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 4, 2017