Luke Bryan on 'American Idol': 'It's Always About the Contestants'

Luke Bryan will soon kick off his second run as a judge on American Idol, joining Katy Perry and Lionel Richie in whittling down thousands of aspiring stars to one final winner. For Bryan, the show is less about his own platform, and more about breathing life into the dreams of the young singers.

"It's always about the contestants," Bryan noted. "That's what makes the show fun for us – the surprises, the talent, the youthfulness of the talent. I mean, we have so many 15, 16, 17-year-olds that are unbelievable, and watching them handle the pressure and have fun and the tears and the joy and the smile and all that. So, we're loving it.

"We love the role – me and Katie and Lionel and Ryan – we're having a great time doing this," he continued. "If we weren't having a good time, it would change the whole dynamic. To be able to facilitate these kids' dreams is very special."

The Georgia native previously admitted that parts of American Idol were a challenge, but it was always worth it in the end.

"The road tires you out in this way: when you're running up and down stadiums and doing all that, you wake up the next day and you feel like you ran through a stadium," Bryan told ABC News Radio. "And when you're out on Idol, we notice you get done and you just want a nice glass of wine just to kind of shut your brain off, because you've been concentrating for 12 hours on making the right decisions with these kids."

Bryan will kick off his Sunset Repeat Tour after American Idol wraps, trading one kind of exhaustion for another.

"They're both equally exhausting, because touring is physically [exhausting]," Bryan explained. "Idol, when we start falling in love with these kids ... And with our auditions, we just did three 12-hour days. It's like you're taking the SAT every day."

Bryan, Perry and Richie were all newcomers to the Idol stage last year, which is why Bryan believes the upcoming season will be even better than last year.

"Second season of Idol – I'm more excited this year because I know what to expect," Bryan explained. "I'm not going to be scared the whole time. The fact that me and Lionel and Katy and Ryan [Seacrest] we have one season under our belt, we know how much we can have fun with one another. We know how serious the contestants take it. We're excited. I know we're more excited than last year, just because we know what to expect. It's gonna be a lot of surprises and a lot of fun."

Season 17 of American Idol will premiere on March 3 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.


Photo Credit: Getty images/ David Livingston