The ABC singing show will also have a twist involving the return of Season 18’s finalists.

By Marcus Jones
April 12, 2021 at 01:40 PM EDT

While it may be through unfortunate circumstances, ABC's American Idol is excited to welcome Paula Adbul back to its judging panel this week.

On Monday, Country star and current Idol judge Luke Bryan announced he's unable to be a part of this season's first live show because he tested positive for COVID, adding "I'm doing well and look forward to being back at it soon."

In response to the news, the show quoted his tweet saying, "We wish him a speedy recovery," and then dropped the big news that Paula Abdul "will be stepping in as a guest judge with Lionel Richie and Katy Perry."

While the "Straight Up" singer has returned to the show before, this will be her first time acting as a judge on it since she left the show in 2009, back when it was still on Fox. Abdul was a founding member of the judging panel when American Idol launched in 2000, and has become known as the quintessential nice judge, also taking her critical talents to reality competitions like So You Think You Can Dance and The Masked Dancer.

It was also announced Monday by host Ryan Seacrest on his daytime show Live with Kelly & Ryan that Idol is throwing in a slight twist Monday night. To fill out its Season 19 Top 10, the show will be welcoming back 10 contestants from Season 18 so that they can finally perform on the Idol stage.

Because of COVID, the Season 18 finalists were forced to perform remotely, but now Faith Becnel, Franklin Boone, DeWayne Crocker Jr., Arthur Gunn, Cyniah Elise, Aliana Jester, Louis Knight, Nick Merico, Makayla Phillips, and Olivia Ximines will all be back to compete for the final spot in the Top 10 of the current season. Not returning are last season's winner Just Sam, and Season 18 finalists Dillon James and Francisco Martin, who already have record contracts.

American Idol Season 19 airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

  • TV Show
  • 16
  • 574
  • ABC