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It sounds like there are going to be some “Fireworks” on the new edition of American Idol when it hits the stage early next year. That’s because now that the show is officially returning, new U.S. broadcaster ABC is slowly starting to unveil its plans. And that includes bringing on mega pop-star Katy Perry as the first official judge.

The news was confirmed late on Tuesday when ABC had its annual upfront presentation — a big show and fall schedule unveiling for advertisers — in New York.

Perry herself walked out on stage during the presentation to help make the announcement, surprising the crowd. And with 12 Grammy nominations, five American Music Awards, 14 People’s Choice Awards, four Guinness World Records and an Emmy nomination for her performance at the Super Bowl, we’d say she’s more than qualified for the gig.

“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,” Perry announced, in the official press release confirming the news. “I’m always listening to new music, and love discovering diamonds in the rough — from mentoring young artists on my label, or highlighting new artists on my tours, I want to bring it back to the music.”

Perry is the only new judge to be officially confirmed though. That’s not totally surprising considering the fact that ABC only just secured the rights to the series a week ago; contracts still need to be sorted out and such.. It was a touch surprising that the network didn’t announce the show’s new host though. After Ryan Seacrest landed the new gig as Kelly Ripa‘s co-star on Live! With Kelly and Ryan we figured his announcement was a shoe-in.

Frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised if Seacrest was holding out for more money, given how synonymous his name is with the Idol brand — after Simon Cowell he’s the first person we think of when someone mentions the show. And for ABC’s part, it would make sense that they want to secure their high-profile judges (and their hefty salaries) before setting anything in stone with Seacrest.

Meanwhile, it sounds like The Voice is gearing up for any potential Idol competition. That series has announced that original Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and third-season finalist Jennifer Hudson are the two latest ladies to ink contracts to become mentors on the show. Hudson makes her debut on the upcoming 13th cycle, while Clarkson is gearing up for the spring’s 14th edition. The connection is purely coincidental though, as NBC — the network that airs The Voice — says negotiations with the ladies began well before the new Idol was announced.

Of course we can’t forget Canada’s own new singing competition show, The Launch, which is coming soon. That six-part series is looking to help aspiring artists and band members create the next hit song, and is currently accepting applications. We’re sure to hear more about that, the new Idol judges and a big host announcement at some point in the near future.

Until then we suppose this means we should all warm up our vocal chords.

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