Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, with host Ryan Seacrest, are ready for season 17 of American Idol

By Christina Dugan
January 25, 2019 05:00 PM
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An all-new season of American Idol is almost here — and PEOPLE has the first look at the official art!

In the exclusive photo, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, with host Ryan Seacrest, are pictured (in their best glam!) with the words, “A new journey begins Sunday, March 3 8/7c.”

Another recognizable face joining the Idol team this season will be radio personality and season 27 champion of Dancing with the Stars, Bobby Bones.

In December, Bones announced that he will be joining the upcoming season as the show’s in-house mentor.

On the last season of Idol, Bones joined the top 24 contestants as they prepared to take the stage with their all-star celebrity duet partners. This time around, he’ll be with them every step of the way.

“For me, to be back in a place where I actually know what I’m talking about — because I just got off a show where I had no idea what I was doing for three months at all — it’s really exciting to come and actually know a little bit,” he says.

Last season, 20-year-old Maddie Poppe was crowned the winner of Idol‘s 16th season in May.

Eric McCandless/ABC

“I don’t have any words to describe this really. I can’t believe people believed in me this much just to make it to the top two with Caleb. To actually have been named the winner of this show is incredible,” Poppe told reporters after the show.

“I got to be who I wanted to be and the fact that I am here and I can tell you that I won the show is doing exactly what I wanted to do and I didn’t have to change myself for anybody is pretty incredible,” she added.

And while the journey was life-changing, it proved challenging at times.

“There were definitely so many moments where I was going to give up,” she said. “I wish I could go back and tell myself, ‘It’s going to be all right, you just wait!’”

Throughout the season, Poppe won the hearts of millions — including judges Perry, Bryan and Richie.

RELATED VIDEO: Judges Explain Why the New American Idol Is Going to Be ‘More Compassionate’: ‘We’re Not Taking Advantage of People for Comedy’

Before season 16 kicked off, PEOPLE sat down with the trio to discuss their individual judging techniques.

“It’s very constructive criticism,” Perry said. “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’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 [and] their actual skill sets for comedy. We don’t do that anymore but we still laugh just as much.”

American Idol is set to premiere Mar. 3 on ABC.