Luke Bryan On ‘American Idol’: “You Don’t Have To Win To Have Success”

Bryan admitted that American Idol is a “discovery device,” adding that, “Kids come on to gain followers and sell who they are as an artist.”

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Andrew Wendowski

Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

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Posted on December 13, 2023

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Luke Bryan; Photo Courtesy of American Idol via ABC

Luke Bryan has been serving as a judge on American Idol since 2018, and knows that just because a contestant didn’t win the competition show doesn’t mean they won’t find musical success.

Contestants New Approach To American Idol

During a recent stint as a co-host on Country Countdown USA, Luke Bryan opened up to Lon Helton about how the show’s contestants have changed over the years, explaining that the rise of technology and social media has made their approach a bit different.

“There are so many levels why kids are more advanced today,” he said. “You can learn everything about music at the tips of your fingers. When Idol launched, there was a sentiment that the kids weren’t paying their dues. Now, it’s another discovery device. Kids come on to gain followers and sell who they are as an artist. You don’t have to win to have success.”

Luke Bryan; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Luke Bryan; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Finding Success Beyond American Idol

A number of American Idol contestants over the years have gone on to successful careers despite not winning the show, including Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Tori Kelly, Katharine McPhee, Adam Lambert, Lauren Alaina, Kellie Pickler and Gabby Barrett. These contestants and others have achieved success in multiple genres and mediums — Hudson has won an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards), Lambert is touring with Queen, McPhee starred on the television show Smash and multiple Idol alums have been nominated for Grammys including Daughtry and Kelly.

Bryan told Parade that “the beauty of American Idol is… it’s very, very driven by the talent of the kids.” 

“It’s very important for the producers of the show and the people behind the scenes and the kids all across the country to really log on and audition and get in front of us,” he explained, adding, “With Idol, we’ve tried to do new, fun things. I think we’ve always grown, putting new little twists on the show. The judges’ song challenge wasn’t in the show a couple of years ago and that’s a fun night for us as judges.”

Bryan Never Thought Idol Would Make Him So Emotional

The country superstar sits on American Idol‘s judging panel alongside Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, and told PEOPLE earlier this year that he never expected the gig to make him so emotional.

“If you’d have told me, I would have cried in front of millions of Americans… I’m not there trying to put on this tough-country-guy act,” the “Country On” singer said. “I’m there to get involved in the emotion of the show. And sometimes what you’re trying to say is not going to land perfectly.” 

He added, “But for the most part, I know when I sit down behind that desk at American Idol, me and Lionel and Katy are doing our best and coming from a place of love and compassion.” 

Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

In June, Bryan defended Perry after viewers criticized her for seemingly bullying and mom-shaming contestants with her judging style. “Katy Perry’s been dealing with stuff like that her whole career,” Bryan told Fox News. “We all get it.… I mean, we’re judging kids that people at home fall in love with.… We’re not gonna bat 1,000 as judges.”

“I think we get set up,” he continued. “As judges, you know, we kinda fall on the sword a lot of times. And get set up to where people can get very vocal on socials and stuff.”

When Is The Season 22 Premiere Of American Idol?

American Idol will return for its 22nd season on February 18 with host Ryan Seacrest back along with Bryan, Richie and Perry. This will be the show’s seventh go-round on ABC and will also stream on Hulu.

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Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

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