Katy Perry jumped to Justin Bieber's defence on Monday (23Apr18) after Lionel Richie questioned his vocal talents.

The 33-year-old singer was joined by Lionel and fellow American Idol judge Luke Bryan as they spoke to Us Weekly after the first American Idol live show on Monday night. As the trio discussed eliminating talented artists from the U.S. TV show, Lionel made a jab at Justin, saying: "You know, you look at it and you think, 'OK, if you can hit every note perfectly, why isn't everybody a superstar?' The answer is because it's called a unique quality. If you look at Willie Nelson for a second, can he hit a gospel note? Um, no! And (Justin) Bieber, he doesn't hit a high note."

Katy then hit back, responding, "He hits a high note", to which Lionel replied, "I'm just saying!"

Luke then joined in the teasing, joking to Katy: "You defend Bieber, you love some Bieber!"

However, Katy, who was entirely unembarrassed by the jibes, replied: "I mean, he's extremely talented!"

Both Lionel and Katy have a history with Justin. For Endless Love singer Lionel, his link comes via daughter Sofia, who briefly dated the Sorry star in 2016. The pair enjoyed trips to Mexico and Japan in that time, with Sofia gushing about the romance to Billboard: "Justin is very easy to talk to and that's hard to find with people in Los Angeles."

However, Lionel was less vocal about the relationship when asked about it by TMZ in September 2016, telling them: "I'm not going there... I have strict orders not to go there."

Sofia has now moved on from the relationship, as she's now happily dating reality star Scott Disick, who is 15 years older than her.

Meanwhile, Katy has long been friends with Justin, and they have frequently posed together at showbiz bashes.