Luke Bryan's fans were shocked and disappointed last week when it was announced that the country music superstar would have to miss the first live episode of American Idol Season 19, due to his COVID-19 diagnosis. Luckily, the singer was well into his recovery by the time he had to reveal that he'd caught the virus, and only had to miss one show. Now, Bryan's opening up about how it felt to miss that episode this season.
As fans saw last week, American Idol was without Luke Bryan for the first live episode this season, with former long-time judge Paula Abdul stepping in for him at the last minute. Bryan was able to complete his recuperation at home, and came back to set for Sunday's show. While he did continue to keep tabs on the contestants by watching the episode he missed from home, Bryan noted to Entertainment Tonight that it was hard not to be on set with everyone, saying:
Well it was very tough, I'll tell you. I learned how much I loved the investment that obviously me and Lionel and Katy have put in [to the season]. . . . I mean, it was really really tough not being there. That was the toughest part of quarantine. It was really tough for me to have to miss out but I was really honored and very, you know, amazed that Paula stepped in for me.
There are several qualities which make for a good judge on a show like American Idol, with a big obvious plus being that they can give honest, constructive criticism to the young hopefuls without destroying their spirit and desire to sing / perform professionally. But, it sounds like another good thing for judges like Luke Bryan to have is a complete investment in the singers who are competing on the show, with them putting in a lot of effort to make sure they notice and point out things which will help them grow as artists. And, it turns out that that investment is one of the things which made quarantine difficult for Bryan.
We still don't know when Luke Bryan was diagnosed or how serious his symptoms may have been, but when he got the positive test result he headed back to his home in Tennessee, where he secluded himself in a part of the house and stayed away from his children, only relying on his wife to help him out when need be. Fortunately, Bryan was able to keep up with show by watching last week's live episode on TV, and texting with fellow judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie during the show to offer them some of his feedback.
Even though Luke Bryan being absent from an episode did mean that host Ryan Seacrest was able to reunite with Paula Abdul on American Idol for the first time in many years (she left after Season 8 in 2009), it's clear that Bryan is more than happy that she only had to fill in for him for one week, and he's glad to be back on set.
You can see how things turn out with the Top 9 contestants when American Idol continues to air, every Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.