Here's Who Will Step In For Luke Bryan On American Idol

American Idol viewers were shocked to learn that country superstar Luke Bryan has COVID-19 and has to step away from his judging duties on the singing competition for right now. Bryan announced his diagnosis on Twitter on April 12, 2021, telling fans he will miss the first of American Idol's live shows that same night.

Bryan took to his Twitter account to break the news, writing, "I'm sad to say I won't be a part of tonight's first live @AmericanIdol show. I tested positive for COVID but I'm doing well and look forward to being back at it soon."

The Instagram account for American Idol also posted about the news, writing, "Luke will be missed at our first #AmericanIdol LIVE show tonight, but he is resting now in quarantine at home and we're wishing him a speedy recovery." The show also teased who would be stepping in for Bryan — and it's a name who's no stranger to the Idol stage. Keep reading to find out who it is.

Luke Bryan's replacement brings familiar energy to American Idol

Paula Abdul will be stepping in for Luke Bryan while he recovers from COVID-19. Abdul, of course, was a judge on American Idol from 2002 to 2009. She will judge alongside Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, ABC announced. This is the first time Abdul will appear on the ABC iteration of American Idol. She's one of the original judges of  American Idol dating back to the show's first eight seasons on Fox, but the show moved to ABC in 2018.  Abdul took to her Twitter account to write to Bryan, "We'll miss you tonight. Thank you for trusting me with your judge's seat!'

The April 12 episode will see the top 16 cut down to 10 contestants, based on the votes from fans. The six contestants who are not chosen will perform for the judges. Abdul, Richie, and Perry will choose two more contestants to advance to the top 12.

If you're behind on this season of American Idol, don't worry! All of the performances are available on American Idol's YouTube channel. Full episodes are available on Hulu. We're wishing Bryan a speedy recovery!