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‘American Idol’ Is Back, and Luke Bryan’s Doing it Proud

Late Night with Seth Meyers, YouTube

If you have been hiding under a rock and haven’t heard the news yet: American Idol is back. The show is on a new network (ABC), and it boasts three new judges—Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry. But, for those who are fans of the classic history of the show, Sunday night’s (Mar. 11) reboot premiere made it almost seem like the beloved series never went away.

While Bryan, the lone country judge on the show, was a bit more mellow on his debut than some might expect him to be (Perry and Richie both proved dominant personalities, leaving Bryan to somewhat follow), he was ushered in by none other than Idol‘s most successful alum, Carrie Underwood—a fellow country compadre who gave an off-camera inspirational “it could happen to you” speech in the cold open.

Given that start to the premiere, Bryan was off and running. There were no country music songs performed by contestants during the premiere, but Bryan was able to interject plenty of personality into the judging panel. He perhaps needs a couple of weeks to rise up to his natural tang—something Voice rival Blake Shelton has down pat with a bit more experience—but all in all, it appears he’s on his way to holding his own and providing a much-needed country-music perspective to the rebooted show.

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A breakout moment Sunday night from  the Nashville auditions segment proved to be 16-year-old Layla Spring from Lebanon, TX, who performed “Who’s Loving You” by the Jackson 5 with an adorable special guest—her 7-year-old little sis, Dyxie. Dyxie charmed all three judges with her own vocal prowess, prompting them all to encourage her to come back in 2026…and, oh yeah, her big sister was given the green light too.

American Idol airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8PM ET/PT, and we’ll be keeping an eye on how Luke does…as well as standout performances.

Forgotten American Idol Auditions of the Stars

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