American Idol Gets a Royal Surprise

King Charles and Queen Camilla join live show by videoconference with judges Perry, Richie
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2023 8:00 AM CDT

American Idol was live on Sunday night as the singing competition reality show kicks into high gear, though two of the regular judges played their part from across the pond. Katy Perry and Lionel Riche videoconferenced in from England's Windsor Castle, where they'd just performed at the coronation concert for King Charles III and Queen Camilla, who went through their crowning ceremony on Saturday. In a short clip, Perry called the coronation event "incredible," while Richie told viewers, "What a party."

Then Richie noted: "We were trying to figure out, what can we do to bring something different to the show?"—at which point two unexpected guests "ambled" into the frame, per USA Today. It was the king and queen themselves, and Charles cracked a few jokes in dry British fashion. "I just wanted to check how long you'll be using this room for," the monarch grinned. The royal couple then complimented Richie and Perry on their performances, calling them "incredible" and "fantastic," and strolled away. "We love you guys," Richie proclaimed as they departed.

The internet had varied reaction to Charles and Camilla's cameo, per the Independent. "Awww, what a treat!" one viewer commented. Another said Perry seemed "tongue-tied." There were some detractors as well, with one noting, "That seemed so awkward and weird to me." Meanwhile, the Guardian has numbers on how many people in the UK watched the coronation: 20 million at the audience's peak, making it the most-watched show there for 2023. Still, 29 million Brits checked out Queen Elizabeth II's funeral on the telly, for comparison's sake. (More American Idol stories.)

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