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New "American Idol" judges are looking for contestants "that really move our soul and fire us up"

ABC/Eric Liebowitz(HOLLYWOOD) -- When American Idol first began, it was subtitled "The Search for a Superstar," and when the show premieres this Sunday night, that's just what judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan will be doing.  But what qualities are they looking for in a contestant?

"We are looking for something unusual -- I am, in particular," Katy tells ABC Radio. "There [are] a lot of great all depends on what kind of star you want. Do you want someone who can just play...bars...? Or do you want to fill arenas?" 

"What kind of star do you want?" Katy asks rhetorically. "I’m always looking for the biggest one. So I think it’s a combination of things. It’s about presence.  It’s about, what do they contribute musically? Is their perspective it unique?"

Luke says he's also looking for a combination of things.

"That magic, that twinkle, that charisma....You’re looking for those chill-bump moments," he tells ABC Radio. "Those moments where...they come in very unassuming...then they start singing and magic starts happening."

"That’s the main thing," he declares. "The people that really move our souls and fire us up."

But surprisingly, contestants who tried show the judges they were "unique" by singing their own original songs didn't fare well, according to Lionel.

"In writing their own songs, they don’t really capture who they really are," Lionel tells ABC Radio. Which is why he and the other judges often made those contestants sing an already existing hit.

He explains, "I think sometimes, when they write their songs, they don’t stretch as much as they do when they're singing someone else’s song." 

American Idol premieres on ABC this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

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