Katy Perry and Lionel Richie were absent from American Idol on Sunday (May 7) for very good reasons. The judges were busy performing at King Charles III’s coronation concert at Windsor Castle in London a day after England’s new monarch was seated in a ceremony rich with tradition and mega-charged pomp.
Some 20,000 people gathered at the castle for the show that found Richie performing “All Night Long” and the Commodores’ “Easy” for the royals and their invited guests. The AP reported that Princess Charlotte and her mother, Kate, Princess of Wales sang along as Perry performed her hit “Roar” while decked out in a gold foil ball gown as drones formed into the shape of a lion to honor the new king’s coat of arms. Perry closed out the show with “Firework,” which she dedicated to the king, saying, “Thank you for bringing out the firework in so many young people.”
There was even a fly-by from Tom Cruise, who appeared in a video message saying, “Pilot to pilot. Your Majesty, you can be my wingman any time.”
The evening hosted by Downtown Abbey star Hugh Bonneville also featured performances from The Masked Singer‘s Nicole Scherzinger, British man band Take That, Paloma Faith, opera singer Andrea Bocelli and a global choir led by Steve Winwood singing a version of his hit “Higher Love.”
The new royals returned the favor on Sunday night’s live coast-to-coast broadcast of Idol during an episode featuring mentors Ed Sheeran and Alanis Morissette, appearing in a chat with Perry and Richie from Windsor Castle. “I just wanted to check how long you’ll be using this room for?” King Charles joked to Richie and Perry, as he walked into the shot with Queen Consort Camilla after the “Dancing on the Ceiling” star called the coronation “unbelievable.”
“We have to give the room up right away,” a nervous Richie said after the King’s bone-dry jape about whether the production would be using the room “all night long.”
“Thank you so much for your brilliant performance,” Charles said as Perry interrupted in a distinctly West Coast English accent to ask, “are we making too much noise?” There was then some scripted cross-talk about the coronation party they were all going to attend, with Perry curtsying as the royal couple made their exit.
Watch highlights from the coronation concert and the Idol drop-in below.