American Idol judge Luke Bryan has defended Katy Perry against backlash from fans for how she treated the show's Season 21 contestants.

Katy, 38, joined American Idol as a judge for the show's ABC revival in 2018, and while she's had a great run with Luke and Lionel Richie, she sparked major criticism this past season for arguably offending or disrespecting contestants.

At one point in the season, Katy even drew boos from the audience, and many fans have been demanding for her firing and replacement next season.

But Luke suggested during an interview with Fox News that Katy is unfazed by all the outside noise.

"Katy Perry's been dealing with stuff like that her whole career," Luke, 46, said. "We all get it... I mean, we're judging kids that people at home fall in love with. We're not going to bat 1,000 as judges."

Luke said he believes the American Idol judging panel is sometimes put in a difficult position.

"I think we get set up. As judges, you know, we kinda fall on the sword a lot of times," Luke explained, referencing how the judges are tasked with critiquing innocent kids and fan-favorite singers.

"And [we] get set up to where people can get very vocal on socials and stuff. My thing is, I think when me and Lionel and Katy sit down at the desk, in our hearts, we're doing the best we can."

Katy has been accused of mom-shaming and putting down American Idol hopefuls.

Last season, during the auditions, Katy jokingly told contestant Sara Beth Liebe, a mother of three children, that she had been "laying on the table too much."

Sara Beth had complained about Katy's comment on TikTok and later quit the competition, although the aspiring singer more recently insisted she left the show on good terms with production and staff.

And Katy was booed during a Season 21 performance episode when she had asked contestant Nutsa Buzaladze, an unapologetically wild and free spirit, to wear less glitter onstage.

Katy also took heat for not giving We Ani direct feedback or praise following one of her excellent performances.
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Luke, however, apparently feels the backlash directed at Katy is unfair and unjustified.

"Katy gets picked on for going out and trying to have fun making a TV show," Luke said.

"You can't be so safe in the moment that you're so homogenized, you can't ever go for a joke -- or go for a fun moment. Sometimes you've just got to say stuff. It may be my year next year."

Luke said Katy's candidness and transparency makes him "appreciate her even more," especially because she's "had to deal" with scrutiny on a large scale for her whole career.

Although the job isn't always easy and glamorous, Luke confessed it would be "a tough show" for the judging panel "to walk away from."

Luke explained, "We feel like we're doing beautiful work as a whole, and we felt like this year was what we had all worked together to get to."

In fact, Luke said he'll stay a judge on American Idol as long as "the vibe feels like we're onward and upward."

American Idol Season 21 contestant Oliver Steele also recently defended Katy by posting a statement on Instagram.

"Katy is not a bully, nor does she shame people," Oliver insisted.

"Katy has an incredible ability to not just tell what emotional state you're in, but to be able to tell what's holding you back. I love all the judges, but Katy always seemed to be able to look into my soul and tell exactly what was troubling me, or what it was I was struggling with."

Oliver continued, "It's one thing to teach someone to believe in their ability, which the judges are fabulous at. Katy reminded me to believe in who I am as an artist. She challenged me to push myself, to take on challenges that made me uncomfortable."

Oliver said that Katy ultimately made him "a better musician and artist," before concluding, "Katy Perry pushed me to believe in my potential, and to exceed my expectations."

American Idol's 21st season wrapped in late May with Iam Tongi being crowned champion over runner-up Megan Danielle.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.