How Luke Bryan Feels About Crying ‘In Front Of Millions’ On ‘American Idol’

“I’m not there trying to put on this tough-country-guy act,” Bryan explains.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

August 10, 2023


1:22 pm

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Luke Bryan; Photo By ABC/Stewart Cook

It’s officially been five years since Luke Bryan first joined the American Idol judging panel alongside Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Upon recent reflection, the country star admits that the role has evoked more emotions than he ever could have predicted, revealing how deeply he invests his heart into the show every year.

“If you’d have told me I would have cried in front of millions of Americans . . . I’m not there trying to put on this tough-country-guy act,” Bryan told PEOPLE. “I’m there to get involved in the emotion of the show. And sometimes what you’re trying to say is not going to land perfectly.” 

Bryan went on to stress that at the end of the day, he can proudly say he is confident in the work and dedication he puts into Idol alongside Perry and Richie. 

He continued, “But for the most part, I know when I sit down behind that desk at American Idol, me and Lionel and Katy are doing our best and coming from a place of love and compassion.” 

Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy American Idol, ABC/Eric McCandless
Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy American Idol, ABC/Eric McCandless

When previously asked about his future with the show, the “But I Got A Beer In My Hand” singer explained that it would be hard to walk away from it. 

“It’s a show that kids can sit down and parents can cry and laugh together, and have fun.… It’s gonna be a tough show for me and Lionel and Katy to walk away from. Obviously, Ryan’s been there 21 years.… Ryan Seacrest could go do whatever he wants to,” he said of the longtime host while speaking with Fox News at CMA Fest.

“We feel like we’re doing beautiful work as a show, and we felt like this year was what we had all worked together to get to,” he shared, before adding that he hopes to remain a part of the Idol family as long as “the vibe feels like we’re onward and upward.”

The good news is, ABC has confirmed that Luke Bryan as well as Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and longtime host Ryan Seacrest will all return to their roles on Idol’s 2024 season. 

The network took to social media to share the news and prompted new hopeful singers to audition before the star-studded panel of music industry legends. Returning in the Spring of 2024, the upcoming competition will mark the 22nd season of American Idol in total and seven seasons on ABC. 

According to a new press release, American Idol came out on top as ABC’s No. 1 program last season in both Total Viewers and Adults 18-49. Additionally, it was the No. 1 most social reality series across all of television, year to date, with nearly 1 billion social video views. 

Auditions are already underway as they kicked off Wednesday, Aug. 2, with the return of “Idol Across America.” This live virtual nationwide search for the next superstar gives auditioners the chance to showcase their talents in front of an Idol producer. All those who are eligible and looking for the chance to propel their talents into full-time music careers can audition from anywhere in America, across any official audition date for a chance to proceed to the judge audition round of the competition.

“Idol Across America” auditions will be held as follows (subject to change.) Additional fall dates will be announced at a later time:

• First 700 VIP Event (Aug 2)
• Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina (Aug 4)
• Florida, Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia (Aug 7)
• Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas (Aug 9)
• Open Call: Singer-Songwriters (Aug 11)
• Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington (Aug 14)
• Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi ( Aug 16)
• Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire (Aug 18)
• Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming (Aug 21)
• Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania (Aug 23)
• Open Call: Country & Rock (Aug 25)
• Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin (Aug 28)
• The South: Open Call Pt. 1 (Aug 30)
• Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Washington D.C. , Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts (Sep 6)
• Open Call: Pop, R&B & Soul (Sep 8)

American Idol will return to ABC in the spring of 2024.

For more information on how to register for auditions, visit

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.