American Idol kicked off this season’s live shows on Monday, but they had to do it without Luke Bryan. The judge and country crooner tested positive for COVID-19 — which paved the way for former Idol judge Paula Abdul to make a guest return for the night.
Judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie joined Abdul to speak with ET’s Lauren Zima after Monday’s live episode, and the judges shared an update on how Bryan was holding up.
While Bryan may not have been in the studio, Perry said the judge was keeping in touch in real time.
“He was texting us. He was blowing up our phones during the whole episode. Some of it we can’t even say…” Perry joked.
“We can’t say half of it!” Richie added.
“But he agreed with everything,” Perry shared. “He was just giving critiques at home. I guess, alone in his room.”
Bryan revealed Monday morning that he’d tested positive, and Abdul’s involvement was revealed soon after. However, it seems that Bryan may be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get hit with the symptoms quite as badly as others.
“He’s totally good,” Perry shared, easing the minds of concerned fans. “I think he’s gonna be alright. I think we’ll be seeing him next week.”
While Perry and Richie are looking forward to having their old pal back on the panel, both singers shared their total appreciation for Abdul’s work on Monday’s show.
“Paula did a great job! She did a great job,” Richie exclaimed.
For the former judge — who was with the show from it’s inception through it’s eighth season in 2009 — said being back “felt nostalgic.”
“I didn’t have time to think about it because it was literally, I got the call on Friday night and I was worried because I was getting my second vaccine and I thought, ‘Oh my God, what if I have a reaction?'” Abdul recalled. “I was able to move my appointment to Saturday night, so yesterday I was feeling kind of crappy, but today I woke up fine. And it was fun!”
“I love being on this panel tonight. It’s way different than the panel that I was on, that’s for sure,” she shared, jokingly adding that she “didn’t have to go to therapy” to get ready to join Perry and Richie.
Whether or not Bryan comes back next week, or if Abdul fills in again, American Idol will soon be cutting the Top 12 down yet again when the show returns on Sunday.
Tune in Tuesday’s Entertainment Tonight to see the judges’ full conversation about Monday’s show and Abdul’s Idol comeback. Check here for local listings.
American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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