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Luke Bryan Reveals Hardest Part of Filming 'American Idol' Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rebelander Basilan
Feb 21, 2021
04:40 A.M.

In a recent interview, Luke Bryan said that not being able to embrace the contestants of the hit singing competition show "American Idol" is the most difficult part of filming.


Luke Bryan, 44, talked to PEOPLE about "American Idol's" new protocols in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it's been affecting his judging style and mental health.

In addition to Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, Bryan has been a judge on the show for the past four seasons. According to him, the tricky part is trying to figure out the new rules of COVID-19.

Luke Bryan at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on February 12, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

Luke Bryan at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on February 12, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images


During the audition process, the "Rain Is a Good Thing" crooner said that contestants would become very emotional, and they will find themselves in a confusing circumstance.

A huge blow to him is that neither he nor the other judges can walk out there and do the human element. Bryan said hugging contestants and showing support and love to them is very tough.


In Bryan's estimation, that is one thing people notice when watching him, Richie, and Perry. He noted that it could be heartbreaking when they can't put their arms around an emotional contestant.


Still, Bryan, who was named "Entertainer of the Year" at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2013, explained that the show will still have the same look and feel despite the limitations.

"American Idol" auditions for Season 19 took place in person, though in a small selection of cities, following a partially virtual 18th season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That was the performance that brought Bryan to tears.



Meanwhile, with the teased moment finally fully shown on February 14, viewers were treated to Bryan getting emotional when he saw Grace Kinstler begin to speak.

Kinstler gave an incredibly emotional audition as she expressed an ever-growing desire to take part in "American Idol," with her dad cheering her on. But he died while she was away at school.

After listening to Kinstler sing, Bryan, Perry, and Richie exchanged knowing glances before asking her to sing her second song choice. That was the performance that brought Bryan to tears.

After Kinstler's rendition of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman," Bryan said that it's the first time in four years he has actually been moved to tears by someone singing a song.


In their critique of Kinstler's audition, Bryan, Perry, and Richie called her performance comparable to that of the best "American Idol" contestants before actually propelling her to the Hollywood rounds.



In an interview with PEOPLE, Bryan discussed his 14-year-long marriage to his wife Caroline, how they make their relationship work, and how quarantine has helped their love last longer than ever.

Bryan spent quite a bit of time away from his wife, but now he is just there every day. The singer quipped that having alcohol be a part of their relationship works well for them.

More seriously, Bryan said that they frequently talk about things that they're passionate about and that they never go to bed mad. Those things actually are important, he continued.

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