Luke Bryan to Miss 1st American Idol Live Show, Paula Abdul Steps In

Luke Bryan Paula Abdul American Idol

BREAKING! Luke Bryan will miss at least the first American Idol LIVE show airing tonight (April 12) due to testing positive for COVID-19. Former judge Paula Abdul will step in as guest judge!

 “I’m sad to say I won’t be part of tonight’s first live American Idol show,” Luke wrote on Twitter. “I tested positive for COVID but I’m doing well and look forward to being back at it soon.”

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But Luke’s seat will NOT remain empty! American Idol revealed on social media that Paula Abdul would be taking his place. “Luke will be missed at out 1st American Idol LIVE show tonight, but is resting in quarantine at home & we wish him a speedy recovery,” The tweet continued, “We’re so excited to announce Paula Abdul will be stepping in as a guest judge with Lionel Richie & Katy Perry as we get closer to a new winner!”

As American Idol fans know, Paula served as a judge alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson for seasons 1-8. Kara DioGuardi joined the panel for season 8. Then, Paula left the show after a salary dispute before season 9 in 2010. Since then, she has sat on several competition show panels, including X Factor USA, So You Think You Can Dance and The Masked Dancer.

“The secret’s out…I’m beyond excited to make my return to the judges desk on @AmericanIdol TONIGHT,” Paula shares on Twitter. In another post, she writes, “We’ll miss you tonight @LukeBryanOnline. Thank you for trusting me with your judge’s seat!”

Tonight, the Top 16 will be whittled down to a Top 12. Ten singers will advance to the next round based on America’s vote. The remaining six contestants will perform for the judges, who will pick TWO contestants to advance to the Top 12. It will be her first time that Paula sits on the American Idol judges panel since she left the show a decade ago.  

Will Paula have input on which two singers join the Top 12? These are decisions likely made well ahead of any “wildcard” performance. 

As for Luke–he was on the American Idol set only LAST WEEK. Hopefully, he caught the virus very recently and did not infect fellow American Idol cast and crew.

American Idol airs tonight (April 12) on ABC at 8 pm ET/PT.

About mj santilli 33051 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!