TV & Movies

American Idol’s Luke Bryan Defends Katy Perry Amid Fan Backlash

“Katy gets picked on.”

'American Idol' judge Luke Bryan defended Katy Perry after fan backlash.
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Following a season of many ups and down for American Idol panelist Katy Perry, fellow judge and country music star, Luke Bryan, has come to the singer’s defense after she experienced a wave of viewer backlash on social media throughout Season 21.

Speaking to Fox News, Bryan praised his co-star’s resilience amid the online criticism, noting that Perry has likely been “dealing with stuff like that her whole career.” Bryan continued: “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.”

“Katy gets picked on for going out and trying to have fun making a TV show,” he added. “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. Sometimes you just gotta say stuff. It may be my year next year. It makes me appreciate her [Perry] even more, just how big of a scale she’s had to deal with that her whole career.”

The American Idol star continued on to say that he and fellow judges Perry and Lionel Richie are put in a difficult position when judging the show’s contestants, and are often “set up.”

“As judges, you know, we kinda fall on the sword a lot of times,” he explained. “And get set up to where people can get very vocal on socials and stuff. My thing is, I think when me and Lionel and Katy sit down at the desk, in our hearts, we’re doing the best we can.”

Eric McCandless/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images

As mentioned, the “Firework” singer was faced with viewer backlash throughout much of American Idol Season 21, and the fan criticism of Perry’s critiques first gained traction online after she was accused of “mom-shaming” contestant Sara Beth — who eventually quit the series. As PEOPLE notes, Perry was also booed by the studio audience during one episode, after suggesting that contestant Nutsa Buzaladz should wear less glitter while performing, and was later accused of being “rude” to Idol star Wé Ani.

Along with Bryan, Season 21 contestant Oliver Steele took to Instagram in May 2023 to defend Perry against the backlash, writing that she is “not a bully” and doesn’t “shame people.”

“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,’ he added in a caption.