Ryan Seacrest has been at the helm as the host of American Idol for the show's entire run, both during its long tenure on Fox and with the reboot on ABC. While Seascrest has a new panel of judges alongside him in Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan to help the young stars in the making nail every note and performance, Bryan recently had to step away from the show for a bit, which led to O.G. judge Paula Abdul stepping in for him. And, it's clear that Seacrest is tickled pink to have Abdul back on the American Idol set with him.
As fans now know, country superstar Luke Bryan started in his regular spot on American Idol for Season 19 during the pre-recorded shows, but recently had to announce that he wouldn't be on set for the first live episode of the season, due to his COVID-19 diagnosis (as opposed to another fishing accident). As Bryan continues to get better, which sounds like it's going well for him, Idol was ready with an assist from former long-time judge Paula Abdul, and Ryan Seacrest posted on Instagram about his happy reunion with the dancer / choreographer / pop star:
Cute, right? I believe this is actually a throwback picture of Seacrest and Abdul, but the only clue for that is the fact that his hair is currently quite a bit longer and wavier than it is in this photo. Otherwise, well, neither Ryan Seacrest nor Paula Abdul appear to be in any mood to have their ages show up in real time on their faces, so this photo could literally have been taken now or 20 years ago.
As Seacrest noted in his caption, Luke Bryan's seat is in good hands until he can return to set and continue filming with the live episodes of American Idol. Paula Abdul was a judge on the hit series from Seasons 1 through 8, and only left prior to Season 9 because she couldn't reach a deal on her contract. While not the longest running judge in Idol history (that title goes to Randy Jackson, who stayed through Season 12), Abdul was well known and beloved for being kind and compassionate while still giving the hopefuls on the competition critiques which would help them as artists.
Abdul was also pumped to be able to help out, and seemed to have fun on the live episode, especially in reuniting with Seacrest and Randy Jackson, who appeared on video for a bit to say hello to his former co-judge, and in working with Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, whom she once said were already friends. And, Seacrest didn't just leave his happiness at being able to work with Abdul again in memories of the past, as he also posted a cool picture from the set:
We don't know right now how long Luke Bryan will be gone from American Idol's live episodes, though Katy Perry has said he might be back for next week's episode. You can catch up with all of the happenings on America Idol when it airs on ABC, Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. EST.