Luke Bryan is back to work after the “American Idol” panelist missed the first live show of the season due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. On Sunday, Bryan was back on the “American Idol” stage after recovering in quarantine.
“Well, it was very tough, I’ll tell you,” Bryan said after the show aired. “I learned how much I loved the investment that obviously me and Lionel and Katy have put in [to the season].”
The country singer missed the first live episode of Season 19 of the popular singing competition. To fill in for Bryan, former “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul returned to the show. Bryan later confessed that being away from the show was not easy for him.
Luke Bryan on Being Away From ‘American Idol: ‘It Was Really Tough’
“I mean, it was really, really tough not being there. That was the toughest part of quarantine,” Bryan said. “It was really tough for me to have to miss out but I was really honored and very amazed that Paula stepped in for me.”
After revealing his positive COVID-19 diagnosis on Apr. 12, Bryan returned to his home in Tennessee. Once there, he put himself into quarantine and had to stay away from his children.
“I put myself in a part of the house and stayed away from my boys,” Bryan explained. “I really didn’t want the boys to miss any school so [one of the hardest things was] not being able to hug all my children.”
Even though he had to miss the live taping, his fellow “American Idol” judge, Lionel Richie, revealed that Bryan had been texting them from home while watching the show live on TV to give them feedback on the contestants.
“It was really interesting to talk to Lionel and Katy and really tell them how wonderful some contestants looked on TV,” Bryan explained. “Even in the room, we miss out on some of the nuances of pitchiness and vocal stuff, but when you’re on TV, the TV doesn’t lie. So I could kind of tell Lionel and Katy some stuff.”
In addition to missing “American Idol,” he also had to drop out of the 2021 ACM Awards performance lineup. Despite not being able to attend, he was still a winner. Bryan won the 2021 ACM Awards “Entertainer of the Year.” He gave his acceptance via video call from Los Angeles, Calif. In a virtual media room appearance, Bryan confessed that he was “totally surprised and shocked” by his win.