'American Idol': Luke Bryan Compares Singer's Audition to Kelly Clarkson's in New Season Opener (Exclusive)

The new season of 'Idol' is here!

A new season of American Idol is here!

Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan return to the judges' chairs on Sunday's Idol premiere, which also welcomes back longtime host Ryan Seacrest. ET exclusively premieres the new season opener, which offers a glimpse into the aspiring singers hoping to make it big in Hollywood.

"What a time to be around in the world," Perry kicks off the premiere, followed by Bryan acknowledging the tough times currently facing the country: "We're all out there dealing with challenges and I'm just excited that the fans can sit at home and enjoy American Idol."

Just as they're about to witness the first auditions of the season, Perry maintains an optimistic approach as she sits behind the dais. "Some other things are canceled. Silver lining is that dreams are not canceled," to Bryan and Richie echoing her sentiments. 

When one of the singers blows the judges away in her audition, Bryan makes a lofty comparison. "That's gotta be up there with the Kelly Clarkson audition," he says of Idol's season 1 winner. High praise.

Radio personality and TV host Bobby Bones also returns as in-house mentor, a role he held last season.

Among those auditioning this season is Claudia Conway, daughter of "high-profile political figures" Kellyanne and George Conway, as revealed in a recent promo.

Last October, Perry opened up to ET's Rachel Smith about returning to work after giving birth to daughter, Daisy Dove, in August.

"It's amazing. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and for this job, and to be able to continue to inspire other people to go after their dreams," she said. "I mean, my life just feels very full and whole. And you know, it's hard a little bit these first couple of days away and not being able to be there."

"But Daddy's doing a great job. Daddy has stepped in," Perry said of fiancé Orlando Bloom. "I've seen the Bjorn on him, I've seen him with the bottle, I've seen all the pictures. It's all good."

American Idol returns Sunday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. For morewatch below.

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