Luke Bryan found it "really, really tough" missing the first 'American Idol' live show of the season.

Luke Bryan with Katy Perry and Lionel Richie

Luke Bryan with Katy Perry and Lionel Richie

The 44-year-old star returned to the show on Sunday (18.04.21) after being forced to take a break last week when he was diagnosed with coronavirus, and while the country legend found it difficult having to watch the show on TV, he was "really honoured" that original judge Paula Abdul stepped in to take his place on the panel alongside Lionel Richie and Katy Perry.

He told 'Entertainment Tonight': "Well it was very tough, I'll tell you. I learned how much I loved the investment that obviously me and Lionel and Katy have put in [to the season].

"I mean, it was really really tough not being there. That was the toughest part of quarantine.

It was really tough for me to have to miss out but I was really honored and very, you know, amazed that Paula stepped in for me."

And Luke also found it tough having to isolate away from his and wife Caroline's two sons, Thomas, 13, and Tatum, 10.

He said: "I put myself in a part of the house and stayed away from my boys. I really didn't want the boys to miss any school so [the one of the hardest things was] not being able to hug all my children."

Last week, Katy and Lionel revealed Luke had been texting them with his thoughts throughout the show and he admitted it offered him a whole new perspective watching the show on TV.

He said: "It was really interesting to talk to Lionel and Katy and really tell them how wonderful some contestants looked on TV.

"Even in the room, we miss out on some of the nuances of pitchiness and vocal stuff, but when you're on TV, the TV doesn't lie. So I could kind of tell Lionel and Katy some stuff."