Luke Bryan Missing ‘American Idol,’ Who is Filling in for Country Star?

by Anna Dunn
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Luke Bryan has to miss one of the first American American Idol live shows of the season, so who is filling in? Unfortunately, Bryan, a beloved American Idol judge, recently announced he has covid-19. Thankfully, he is confident he’ll make a full recovery.

Bryan will be sorely missed on the show, and he’s getting plenty of well wishes as he recovers. The show, however, has to go on, and Paula Abdul has come to the rescue. Paula Abdul is a famous singer/songwriter who has previously been a judge on the hit show. Not only was Abdul a judge, but she was one of the original judges when American Idol aired on Fox in 2002. Abdul left the show in 2008.

American Idol released a statement about Abdul’s return on their Instagram page, saying, “We’re so excited to announce @paulaabdul will be stepping in as a guest judge to join Lionel Richie and Katy Perry as we get closer to crowning a new winner!”

What’s Happening this Season of American Idol?

American Idol is on its 19th season. While originally on Fox, the show is now on ABC. Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Ritchie are the current judges with Ryan Seacrest hosting. The next live episode will premiere tonight, Monday, April 12th, at 8 pm EST.

Last Sunday, the American Idol contestants were whittled down from 24 singers to 16. The episode with Paula Abdul will make that contestant pool even smaller, with 12 contestants remaining at the end of the night. Like many late-season episodes of American Idol, the last episode was a nail-biter, with Ryan Seacrest announcing which contestants would advance one by one. The contestants who made it to the next round got to sing one more time for the judges.

Some of the most discussed moments so far involved Claudia Conway’s audition as well as a contestant who passed out on stage. A particularly moving moment from the season involved the return of Andrea Valles, sporting an eye patch after surgery. Valles’s retina detached, requiring immediate medical attention. Her return to the stage with one eye out of commission inspired viewers and judges alike.

“It’s amazing!” Katy Perry said regarding the singer’s resilience, “You can do anything: have eye surgery, be on the ‘American Idol’ stage.”

For many viewers, it’ll be interesting to see how the singers perform under the pressure of a sudden judge change. The act of performing in front of anyone famous is intimidating, but the contestants typically get more used to their particular judges as the show progresses. The sudden addition of Abdul and sidelining of Bryan could cause some shake-ups.

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