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Luke Bryan returns to American Idol after COVID recovery: "I'm back & feeling awesome"

Luke Bryan on American Idol (Image via ABC)
Luke Bryan on American Idol (Image via ABC)
Neetha Kurup

Luke Bryan is making his return to the judges' table on American Idol after missing the first live show of the season last week due to testing positive for COVID-19.

Bryan took to Twitter to announce that he would be returning to the live broadcast of the singing competition series. The 44-year-old said, in a video he posted, that he is back and "feeling awesome" and told his fans to tune in to the live show.

Fellow judge Katy Perry also took to Twitter to update fans that Luke Bryan is back. She filmed herself trying to visit the songwriter on set to check on him, only to hilariously realize that Bryan had not arrived yet, captioning that American Idol has a "diva problem."


Why was Luke Bryan absent last week?

American Idol's live shows kicked off last week, with Katy Perry and Lionel Richie filling in their usual spots on the judges' table. However, Luke Bryan was temporarily replaced by former judge Paula Abdul when it was announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He also withdrew from his appearance at last week's ACM Awards.

Luke Bryan disclosed that he would not appear on American Idol last week with a tweet confirming his health diagnosis but said that he was looking forward to returning soon.

However, Bryan watched the episode from home, as judges Perry and Richie told ET Online that Bryan kept texting them during the whole episode. Perry shared that Bryan "agreed with everything" and was "just giving critiques at home."

The country music singer had flown back to Tennesse after his positive diagnosis. According to reports, following the singer's positive result, those working on American Idol were tested, and no one else tested positive for the virus.


When is Luke Bryan returning to American Idol?

Luke Bryan's absence will only be a week-long, and the Georgia-born star is returning to the show this Sunday night. However, Bryan's diagnosis and recovery timeline raise questions as it was only last week that he announced on social media that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. Current protocols deem that he test negative for at least two weeks before returning to work.

Variety noted that should the protocols be followed, Bryan would have been absent from last week's show for being within the two-week safety window. However, neither Luke Bryan's representatives nor American Idol returned requests for comment on the timing issues by the publication.

The media company also noted that Bryan is likely not vaccinated yet. He would be legally required to fly to Tennessee, his home state, after the process opened up for all adults in Nashville on March 31st.

However, it is believed that the musician stayed in Los Angeles for work on American Idol and to promote his new album, Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition).

American Idol airs on ABC on Sunday and Monday nights at 8/7c.


Edited by Ravi Iyer

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