When Lionel Richie comes to Honolulu next month for two concerts at the Blaisdell Arena, he’ll be bringing a few friends with him.
Richie will be joined by ABC’s “American Idol,” including fellow judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan and host Ryan Seacrest, who announced the trip Friday morning on his radio show. The singing competition, which drew more than 9.5 million viewers per airing last season, is scheduled to return March 3 for its second season on ABC (after 15 on Fox and a one-season hiatus).
Auditions, held in 20 cities across the mainland U.S., wrapped up in September. Seacrest said the Showcase Round would be filmed at Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa. The Showcase Round was added a few years ago and sees the several dozen singers chosen at the auditions pared to 24 semifinalists. No dates for filming were announced, but it will take place after Richie’s concerts on Jan. 25 and 26.
Among the stars the show has launched are Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson, who was eliminated before the top six in Season 3 but has gone on to success as a singer and actress, winning a best supporting actress Oscar in 2006 for “Dreamgirls.”
Auditions were held here in 2003 at Aloha Stadium and the Sheraton Waikiki, resulting in two Hawaii singers making the final 12 in Season 3 — Jasmine Trias and Camile Velasco. Trias finished third and Velasco ninth. Fantasia Barrino won that season. There have been no finalists from Hawaii since. Both Trias and Velasco have gone on to pursue performing careers, Velasco under the stage name Eli-mac.
Last season’s winner was Maddie Poppe. ABC reported on its website that Poppe and runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson were coincidentally at the Aulani enjoying the trip they won as part of “Idol” when Seacrest announced that “Idol” would be coming to the islands.