When American Idol returned after a three year hiatus earlier this year, it started off kind of rocky. We thought that the first few episodes the show was really trying to find itself. But by the end of the season, they had really captured something special. Now, as they prepare for season 2, judge Luke Bryan discusses how the lessons they learned in season one are informing the new season.
The truth is that neither Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, or Luke Bryan had experience doing this kind of show…or any kind of show for that matter. They were singers and musicians and felt awkward and uncomfortable at times in their role as judges. It’s a hard thing to crush the dreams of the young people who come into audition. Still, not everyone can get in and they have to toughen up. This has been a real challenge for genuine nice guy Luke Bryan. But he said the experience of having gone through an entire season has helped him figure out how to navigate these issues. He said,
“The knowledge that we’ve gained doing a whole season — from how we interact with one another to knowing whether a contestant is gonna survive later — [is valuable]. Some of these contestants can kind of fool us on the audition day. There was one male singer. I mean, we ripped him the whole time. We were on him, we were on him, we were on him! Because we’ve learned that the only time we can really tell these kids [anything] is right now. So if we have anything we need to tell ’em to move forward with… [we should do it in the auditions]. After we spent 15 minutes going, ‘You got to do this better’…’, [it was,] ‘Oh, you’re going to Hollywood!’ I guess that’s ‘Welcome to the business,’ y’know?”
Katy Perry’s antics on the show got a lot of the headlines last season, but I feel that Luke brings some much needed balance to the show. He acts as a nice counterpoint to Katy’s craziness. And Lionel is like the dad who drives the station wagon to school and tells them to behave. It’s a winning formula.