Luke Bryan Tests Positive for COVID-19 — Who’s Filling in on ‘Idol’?

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American Idol judge Luke Bryan shared some personal news on social media today that will affect the first live show of Season 19. The country star has tested positive for COVID-19.

The good news is that Bryan’s chair won’t be empty for tonight’s episode. A surprise guest will be returning to the show to fill in and walk viewers down memory lane.

Luke Bryan Tests Positive for COVID-19

Luke Bryan posted on Twitter and Instagram to say that he tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be present at the season’s first live show. He added that he’s “doing well and look forward to being back at it soon.”


American Idol later tweeted the news that a former judge will be filling in for Bryan’s during Monday night’s show. Paula Abdul, who was part of the original judging panel on the show, will be stepping in, and bringing her iconic positive energy to the chair.

The show said that Bryan “is resting in quarantine at home,” and wished him a “speedy recovery.” Paula will join Katy Perry and Lionel Richie on the judging panel as the show narrows down its contestants to the Top 12.

Abdul was part of the show’s first panel, along with Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson. All three original judges remained on the panel for eight seasons, as winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood were crowned.

What Will Happen During Monday’s Episode?

On Sunday night, the Top 16 performers were announced. They performed one song each, and viewers were allowed to vote for their favorites overnight.

Monday night’s show will reveal the Top 10 contestants. The remaining six will perform, and the judges will decide which two singers should move on in the competition and round out the Top 12.


Bryan isn’t the first talent show judge to miss an episode of their show this season. Richie appeared virtually earlier this season as he quarantined at home. He was reportedly exposed to COVID-19, although he did not test positive.

Over on The Voice, Kelly Clarkson had to miss the recent Battle performances because she was feeling sick. Kelsea Ballerini sat in her chair and consulted with her via text about who should move on.


Jill O'Rourke
Jill O'Rourke

Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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