Luke Bryan being replaced by Paula Abdul as 'American Idol' judge after he tests positive for COVID-19
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/12/2021
Luke Bryan will miss American Idol's first live Season 19 episode after testing positive for coronavirus, however longtime Idol viewers will still see a familiar face as original judge Paul Abdul will fill in for him.
The upcoming episode of American Idol's nineteenth season airing on Monday, April 12 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC will feature the Top 16 contestants becoming the Top 12 -- but Luke won't be sitting at the judges' table with Lionel Richie and Katy Perry for the exciting reveal.
As for Paula, 58, she sat on the judging panel as an original judge next to Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson when the series premiered its first season in 2002 on Fox.
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Paula, who recently appeared on The Masked Dancer as a panelist, critiqued singing hopefuls for eight American Idol editions through 2009.
When taking into account Paula's former attitude and judging style on the show, she will probably lend a positive and optimistic spirit to Monday night's Idol episode, similar to what Luke always brings to the table.
"I want everybody to be happy. I don't want to upset anybody and hurt people's feelings; it's just kinda my nature," Luke toldEntertainment Weekly earlier this month.
"But sometimes you just have to tell the truth and tell them that wasn't their best performance. They need to hear that. But I think we've done a great job at being really constructive with it."
Luke added that telling a contestant "no" is never easy because he doesn't want a person to give up on his or her dreams.