Like a knight in shining armor, Luke Bryan came to the defense of fellow “American Idol” judge Katy Perry when asked if fans have been too harsh in their criticism of her.
“Katy Perry’s been dealing with stuff like that her whole career,” Bryan explained during an interview at Country Music Association (CMA) Fest. “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,” addressing the influx of negative comments Perry has received for her commentary.
“My thing is, I think when me and Lionel [Richie] and Katy sit down at the desk, in our hearts, we’re doing the best we can.”
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“Katy gets picked on for going out and trying to have fun making a TV show,” he said of the “Firework” singer.
Perry has previously been accused of “mom-shaming” and being “condescending,” among other things during season 21 of the hit show.
“You can’t be so safe in the moment that you’re so homogenized, you can’t ever go for a joke. Or go for a fun moment,” Bryan said.
“Sometimes, you just gotta say stuff,” he added. “It may be my year, next year,” he theorized, explaining that entertainers are “conditioned” and “calloused” to backlash.
“It makes me appreciate her even more, just how big of a scale she’s had to deal with that her whole career,” Bryan said.
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Earlier this month, top 8 contestant Oliver Steele debunked rumors that Perry is a bully.
“I’ve seen a lot of rumors going around the internet about Katy Perry possibly leaving idol and I don’t necessarily know what’s true and what’s not. Here is what I know about [her]. Katy is not a bully, nor does she shame people,” he wrote to his Instagram, along with photos of him and Perry.
“I remember being nervous at my audition, nervous during Hollywood week, hell even nervous throughout various points in the competition. Katy has an incredible ability to not just tell what emotional state you’re in, but to be able to tell what’s holding you back. I love all the judges, but Katy always seemed to be able to look into my soul and tell exactly what was troubling me, or what it was I was struggling with,” he continued.
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Steele complimented the “Roar” singer, writing, “It’s one thing to teach someone to believe in their ability, which the judges are fabulous at. Katy reminded me to believe in who I am as an artist. She challenged me to push myself, to take on challenges that made me uncomfortable. I’m a better musician and artist after Katy Perry pushed me to believe in my potential, and to exceed my limitations.”
The musician implored Perry to stay with the program. However, some fans of the show have called for her termination, wishing for her to be replaced by singer Alanis Morisette.
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In terms of his own future, Bryan, who headlined Nissan Stadium Sunday night for CMA Fest, says it will be hard for him, or any of the judges to move on from the program.
“It’s a show that kids can sit down and parents can cry and laugh together, and have fun.… It’s gonna be a tough show for me and Lionel and Katy to walk away from. Obviously Ryan’s been there 21 years.… Ryan Seacrest could go do whatever he wants to,” he said of the longtime host, who has hosted the show on two networks.
“We feel like we’re doing beautiful work as a show, and we felt like this year was what we had all worked together to get to,” Bryan shared, noting that he’ll stay with it as long as “the vibe feels like we’re onward and upward,” with people getting “emotionally moved” by the show.
“CMA Fest” will air on ABC, July 19.