Luke Bryan Sings Merle Haggard Duet With ‘American Idol’ Contestant Alex Miller

With the much-anticipated season premiere of American Idol just days away, the show is offering fans a sneak peek of…


Lauren Jo Black

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February 11, 2021


3:42 pm

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Alex Miller, Luke Bryan; Photo by ABC/John Fleenor

With the much-anticipated season premiere of American Idol just days away, the show is offering fans a sneak peek of an exciting audition from Kentucky native Alex Miller. 

“Music means everything to me,” the 17-year-old country hopeful says in the introductory clip. He goes on to explain how he turned to music to help him cope with his parents’ divorce. Now, with nearly 1,000 performances under his belt, the high school student is ready for his shot at a ticket to Hollywood. 

Miller makes his way into the audition room and serves up an original tune he wrote for an ex-girlfriend. Armed with a guitar and pure traditional country vocals, Miller immediately captives judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. 

YouTube video

“Thank you, Jesus,” Bryan gushes following his performance. 

“I am thrilled,” Richie adds. “Your personality is just infectious, man!”  

Bryan goes on to give Miller the offer of a lifetime, asking, “What happens if you were to ever play the Grand Ole Opry?”

“Oh, I don’t know man, I’d die and go to Heaven,” Miller replies. 

“I think I can make a call at some point,” Bryan promises.

After a little convincing from Perry, Bryan then joins Miller for a duet of Merle Haggard’s “Big City.” 

Ultimately, Miller earns a golden ticket and advances to Hollywood. Watch it all go down in the clip above. 

The upcoming season of American Idol will feature returning judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, in-house mentor Bobby Bones and longtime host Ryan Seacrest as they search for the next singing sensation.

American Idol will return to ABC on Sunday, February 14, 2021 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST). 

Prior to the premiere, fans can tune in to Country Now’s Countdown to American Idol featuring acoustic performances with past Idol contestants Laine Hardy, Laci Kay Booth, Kat & Alex, Lauren Mascitti, Louis Knight and Grace Leer. Click HERE to RSVP to the livestream event. 

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.