Luke Bryan says ‘American Idol’ 3.0 includes "more songwriters," "better songs," and more diversity

ABC/Eric LiebowitzThe auditions continue this Sunday on the third season of American Idol on ABC -- and Luke Bryan says so far this year, the contestants are upping the musical ante.

"The best part of the new season is we're seeing more songwriters come out with better songs," he observes. "Songwriters and people that think that they don't fit the American Idol criteria, they're coming out."

The "What She Wants Tonight" hitmaker believes he and fellow judges Lionel Richie and Katy Perry laid the groundwork for more diversity last season, with contenders like Laine HardyMadison VanDenBurg, and Alejandro Aranda, who often sang his own songs.

"Last year with our contestants," Luke recalls, "you look at our top ten -- it was diverse, it was across the board. And kids at home can go, 'You know what? If that guy can stand up there and go this far in American Idol, [I can too]. I thought American Idol was only for pop stars and country stars.'"

"But American Idol's for all kind of stars," Luke declares. "And I think this year is showing that."

Tune in to see who makes it through to Hollywood, when the latest episode of American Idol premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. 

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