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Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry standing across from each other on a pickleball court.
Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry on the pickleball court. ABC

American Idol judges play pickleball

DALLAS, TX – In the latest episode of American Idol, the judges took a break from their duties and hit the pickleball court.

Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry played a quick game to settle an on-air argument over this all-important question: Who has the best hometown?

“You know how we settle this? On the pickleball court,” said Perry in this video posted to her X (formerly Twitter) account with the caption, “pickleball is better than padel, change my mind in the comments.”

Clad in an emerald green tennis dress and sporting a leather paddle bag, Perry presented Richie and Bryan with custom paddles featuring their respective faces.

I'm not sure if those are USAP approved, but it made for good TV.

Katy Perry holding up two pickleball paddles printed with her face on them
Katy Perry holding up her pickleball paddles. ABC

Then, Perry’s mom, Mary Hudson, steps onto the court as Perry’s doubles partner and a heated game begins.  

After some chirping and some beautiful drives from Hudson, it’s clear the ladies are far outshining their opponents. 

“Lionel, I thought you and Kenny Rogers used to play,” teased Bryan after Richie missed a shot. 

“We play all the time,” claimed Richie. 

Bryan even went for a tweener during the game. 

Then, Perry slammed the ball with the kind of ferocity fit for a champion. 

“My mom’s 75 and she’s smacking your butt,” said Perry. 

After the mother-daughter duo took home the victory, they also received a trophy.

The experience served as the perfect pre-audition activity to blow off some steam and have some fun. 

“This is normal. I do this every Sunday,” said Perry in her X video.

Perry compares her pickleball hobby to Bryan’s hobby of going hunting and fishing (and lovin’ every day), solidifying her as a genuine rec pickleball player when she’s away from the judges' table. 

“I know how to slam dunk them on the pickleball court,” she concluded.

Though some of her phrasing and vernacular wasn’t exactly right, I think the glimpses of skill we saw shows she’s a solid player, especially with her mother by her side. 

With more and more celebrities enjoying pickleball in their free time and sharing their love for the game on social media, I think we’re gearing up for the ultimate celebrity showdown in the future.


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