Lionel Richie convinced this year’s ‘American Idol’ top 10 contestants have music careers in their futures

Lionel Richie says he thinks this year’s ‘American Idol’ top 10 contestants have music careers ahead of them.

The 73-year-old ‘All Night Long’ singer saw five contestants battle their way to the final of the talent show on Sunday’s (14.05.23) ‘Disney Night’ episode for the three spots in next week’s three-hour grand final.

Lionel said he spoke to singers Colin Stough, Iam Tongi, Megan Danielle, Wé Ani, and Zachariah Smith before the show and said he came away believing they all have a future in showbiz.

He told Entertainment Tonight: “The top five, they have careers. I mean, you could just see it. Each one of them, they tick off a box.

“(They) have the identity, they’ve got the voice, they’ve got the entertainment factor. It’s just a matter now of what you do with it.”

He added about the opportunity he thinks the show gives wannabe performers:

“That is the most amazing thing! We had to (travel) from New York to LA to New York to LA, (play) every club, before we got recognised.

“They just sang for 20 million people, 30 million people, and (made) a billion impressions. Give me a break!”

Sunday’s episode saw Zachariah and Wé voted off, leaving Colin, Ian and Megan to perform in next week’s finale.

Lionel insisted that whatever happens in the conclusion to this year’s show, as many as the top 10 from this year’s show have a chance to make it big.

He added: “The top five, the top 10, they can make their careers happen. The platform of ‘American Idol’ is just to get you exposed, ladies and gentlemen!

“Because, right now, the follow-up is the most important thing.

“What’s that record gonna sound like? What’s that image going to be like?

“I mean, (look at) the Jennifer Hudsons of the world, you know? I mean, where do we go with this?”

The final will see Lionel perform along with his fellow judges Katy Perry, 38, and Luke Bryan, 46, alongside a list of big names including Keith Urban, 55, Clay Aiken, 44, and Ruben Studdard, 44, Ellie Goulding, 36, James Blunt, 49, Kylie Minogue, 54, Pitbull, 42, Kevin Cronin, 71, and TLC.

The ‘American Idol’ finale airs on 21 May at 8pm ET on ABC.