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Lionel points off stage

Lionel Richie Tells 'American Idol' Contestant He Doesn't Like Him Amid Sofia "Failure" Comments

Gettyimages | Steve Jennings
By Natalie Hunter

Lionel Richie has recently proved that he's a firm believer in growing thick skin in order to survive in Hollywood. While he has taught this message to his daughters, he also wants to instill this in the 'American Idol' contestants.

'American Idol' premiered on Sunday February 16th on its recent home ABC. The premiere was well-received with high ratings. Last season's judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, are all returning. They kicked off the first round of auditions in Milwaukee.


According to Distractify, child actor Nick Merico had received a golden ticket last season. However, he had to leave the show abruptly. He returned this season for a second chance.

"Some personal things went down," Nick told the judges about last season. "I had to figure out a lot of things and really take the last year as a boot camp. You guys are so kind to me and I'm so grateful for this second opportunity. That's why I'm here... to sing to you guys again today."


He's sticking to the same story that he gave during a Skype interview with Colt Balok. “Unfortunately, something happened with my family that I can’t really disclose that forced me to back out of the competition," he said on Skype. “And I hate to say that, but that’s what happened. It’s the truth, man.”

When Merico returned this year, he sang a successful rendition of "You Say" by Lauren Daigle.

"We have a big problem, because, honestly, I don't like you," Lionel stated after the audition.


"For some weird reason, you're not sitting well with me. I don't like your voice," Lionel added. "I'm being honest. I'm being very honest ... I don't like your attitude and I don't really think you're going to make it in Hollywood."

The contestant was clearly taken aback and replied, "I feel hurt."

Lionel admitted, "Good, that's exactly what I want you to feel like. Because I want you to understand what it feels like when people don't adore you."

Giphy | Recording Academy / GRAMMYs

Lionel Richie has recently admitted on a red carpet issue that he thinks rejection is necessary to suriving in Hollywood and he wanted daughter Sofia to learn that lesson.

“I told [Sofia], ‘I wish you lots of failure, young,’" Lionel said. "We’re in a business where it’s how you recover and ‘yes, yes, yes’ does not feel terrible, so you have to get smacked in the face. I said, ‘You’re going to have a little bit more of a different time because you’re coming from a family where they expect a little bit more.'”

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