'American Idol' contestant and Luke Bryan have awkward tiff, mocks judge’s country twang

'American Idol's' 22nd season airs on Sundays and Mondays

Luke Bryan defends fellow 'American Idol' judge Katy Perry

Luke Bryan expands on his future with "American Idol" and if he thinks fans have been too critical of Katy Perry this past season.

"American Idol" is heating up with so much drama this season.

On Sunday's episode, which culminated in the final 24 contestants moving forward to the next round, judge and country crooner Luke Bryan got into a tiff with contestant Madaí ChaKell, 22. The singer took issue with his commentary, choosing to mock his Southern accent at the end of her performance.

To understand the palpable awkwardness of Sunday's episode, you would have needed to see ChaKell's original audition. During the first round, she and Bryan first clashed over her eccentric performance of Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl," which she performed in multiple genres.


Before she started singing, ChaKell hinted that she could imitate accents and change her tone of voice.

"I think you're still a year or two away [from] really perfecting who you are as the individual artist," Bryan told the Massachusetts native. 

"I think you're just trying to grab people's attention," Perry, also a judge, added. "So you want to grab it, and then you want to hold it." 

Although Bryan didn't vote her through to Hollywood, she had the support of Perry and Lionel Richie, which earned her a spot in the next round.

Luke Bryan in a brown plaid shirt over a black shirt puts his hand up and holds papers on "American Idol"

Luke Bryan questioned if Madaí Chakell had found her identity as an artist during the audition rounds of "American Idol." He ultimately passed on voting her through to Hollywood, although she had enough support to move forward. (ABC)

On Sunday's episode, with the contestants now in Hollywood, host Ryan Seacrest asked ChaKell what she was "doing to impress Luke." 

"I definitely tapped more into myself since he said I probably didn't really know who I was. So I did some more digging and found more of her," she explained. 

In a confessional, ChaKell said she wants "to prove to Luke that I'm a true performing artist."

american idol contestant and luke bryan have awkward tiff mocks judges country twang

Luke Bryan didn't vote Madaí ChaKell through the initial auditions, but she had support from Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. (Getty Images)

But things didn't go as planned, with ChaKell not meshing with her provided accompaniment. Singing Ariana Grande's song "Tattooed Heart," she asked the pianist to start the song over again before completely dismissing them. "Okay, we're gonna do this acapella because that's not flowing the way we practiced," she announced.

Once she finished, Bryan asked ChaKell if she "was feeling okay" and if her "voice was 100%."

"Not to where I would like it," she responded. 


Luke Bryan in a camo jacket and black hat performs on stage with a guitar

Luke Bryan asked Madaí ChaKell if she was "100%" following her performance of Ariana Grande's "Tattooed Heart." (Terry Wyatt/WireImage/Getty Images)

"Obviously, I don't know what went on in rehearsals, but [a] lot of stuff going on up there. It was a little shaky in some spots, but thanks for performing for us," he told her before she walked off-stage. 

The audio then cut to a distraught ChaKell explaining what went wrong. 

"My pianist completely just flipped the script on what we practiced. They also tried to play the card, ‘Is your voice okay?’ What do you think? I was shaky… Look what you all just did! Is your voice okay, Luke? I haven't heard you sing," she countered.

Producers ultimately gave her a second chance, allowing her to perform one more time.

"It's great to have you back, and we understand all the dynamics of it now, and we're glad that you get another opportunity," Bryan told the 22-year-old. "And like I said, in this moment, your moment, we want you in the most comfortable situation possible."

Luke Bryan in a brown/grey shirt sits behind the American Idol judges desk inset contestant Madaí ChaKell looks displeased on stage

"American Idol" judge Luke Bryan and contestant Madaí ChaKell got into an awkward exchange on a recent episode of the competition show. (ABC)


Without skipping a beat, ChaKell shared what would make her more comfortable. 

"Okay, so with that being said, can I have a chair perhaps? Cause I'm getting a little bit shaky," seemingly referring to Bryan's earlier commentary. ChaKell then commenced with her performance, singing her final lyric, ‘heart,’ with an overt country twang.

"Why the ‘heart’ that way?" Bryan asked. 

"You know," she began, with a British accent. "You know, you said something before. You were like, ‘I don’t really know who I am quite yet.' So I wanted to show you that I can be everyone and everything. Isn't that what an ‘American Idol’ is?"

Lionel Richie in a brown jacket sits in a chair next to Katy Perry in brown pants next to Luke Bryan for "American Idol"

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan are all judges on "American Idol." (Disney/Eric McCandless/Getty Images)

"Maybe we'll do ‘American Humble’ at some point," Bryan retorted as she walked off-stage again. 

"Probably not winning the audience for that one," he added.

"I am proud of the moment because I just feel like it definitely showed my boss energy. But yeah, it is what it is," ChaKell told the cameras.  

Ultimately, she did not earn a spot in the top 24. 

A representative for Bryan did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment. "American Idol's" 22nd season airs on Sundays and Mondays.

Caroline Thayer is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Follow Caroline Thayer on Twitter at @carolinejthayer. Story tips can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Authored by Caroline Thayer via FoxNews April 2nd 2024