Paula Abdul Stepping in for Luke Bryan on ‘American Idol’
After more than a decade away, Paula Abdul will return to the American Idol dais on Monday night (April 12). The pop singer and OG AI judge will replace Luke Bryan, who is out after a positive COVID-19 test.
The now 58-year-old Abdul was an original judge with Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, and she spent eight seasons on the show, through 2009 (when Kris Allen won and Adam Lambert finished second). Idol was on Fox at the time, but moved to ABC for its latest seasons.
Abdul will sit next to Lionel Richie and Katy Perry as she critiques the contestants during the first live show of the season.
"We’ll miss you tonight @LukeBryanOnline," Abdul writes via Twitter, and: "Thank you for trusting me with your judge's seat."
Abdul was known for being a fair, but kind judge between the often critical Cowell and enthusiastic Jackson. This trio made the reality singing series famous, but in 2021, only host Ryan Seacrest remains from that original cast.
This is Bryan's fourth season as an American Idol judge. The only other country music judge to have appeared on the show was Keith Urban.
Bryan announced his positive COVID-19 diagnosis on Monday morning, letting fans know he's doing well and looks forward to returning to his seat at the table. The Top 16 singers will compete for the title of the next American Idol during the first of the live shows.
See American Idol Stars Then + Now: