New 'American Idol' Will Be 'More Compassionate,' Judges Say: 'We're Not Taking Advantage of People for Comedy'

"In the past there was some of that and maybe taking advantage of people; their actual skill sets for comedy," Katy Perry admits

With a new season, comes new faces — and a new agenda for American Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

“It’s very constructive criticism,” Perry, 33, told PEOPLE of their judging styles. “Personally, I’m a straight shooter. I’m very cut and dry sometimes. You know it seems a little not soft — I do try and watch myself because I do know how it feels to be in their shoes. I was in their shoes 10 years ago. I remind myself and I’m reminded and I’m inspired by all of their stories. I know it wasn’t an overnight success for me; it’s not going to be for them. They still have a long way to go. We’re really real with them.”

“We really encourage them,” she added. “There’s no dismissing and just sending off and saying, ‘You suck.’ That’s not how we roll. I think in the past there was some of that and maybe taking advantage of people; their actual skill sets for comedy. We don’t do that anymore but we still laugh just as much.”

ABC's "American Idol"
Eric Liebowitz/Getty

During an interview with Good Morning America in October, the judges — whom Perry dubbed “the dream team” — opened up about working together on Idol and revealed how they’ll go about finding new talent during the audition process.

“There’s still talent out there to be discovered,” said Perry. “There are still stars and diamonds in the rough and I think the great American Dream — we can revive that in a way and show people that if they have the talent, if they work really hard … maybe we can give them a little platform to just shine.”

ABC's "American Idol"
(Eric Liebowitz via Getty Images)

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And while they all own individual judging techniques, they can all agree on one thing — there’s definitely not a lack of emotion!

“We’re compassionate at times,” Bryan, 41, said. “When we’re not compassionate, we get emotional. We get wrapped up in their stories. We have moments where we’re softies.”

“We’re our individual selves too,” Richie, 68, added. “When we see a contestant that we really believe in, we fight for them. We’re talking each other into other things. This is the part you don’t see. This conversation we’re having right now, this is how long it takes us to agree on contestants because we’re very passionate.”

American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

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