Luke Bryan took home the Entertainer of the Year award at Sunday night’s ACM Awards. Bryan was nominated alongside Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Eric Church and Chris Stapleton for the night’s top trophy.
The 44-year-old country singer and “American Idol” judge was set to perform at the 56th annual awards show before receiving a positive COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this week.
“I am amazingly surprised. What an an honor,” Bryan said while accepting the award via Zoom from Los Angeles. “To the ACMs, I’m so sorry I could not be there. I missed certainly being able to do my songs and to all the winners tonight, congratulations!”
“Oh my god, y’all got me,” he added with excitement before thanking his “wife at home and my boys.”
“To all my fans out there, and country radio, we’ve missed touring,” Bryan concluded his speech. “We’ve missed being on the road with everybody that makes me an entertainer… my bus driver, my band, my crew. What a challenging year but to all the fans and everybody, we’ll be back out on the road doing what we love and what an amazing honor. I love you guys.”
Last week, former Idol judge, Paula Abdul, filled in for Bryan, making a guest return for the night. Judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie joined Abdul to speak with ET’s Lauren Zima after Monday’s live episode, and the judges shared an update on how Bryan was holding up after announcing that he would miss the singing competition series’ first live show.
“He was texting us. He was blowing up our phones during the whole episode. Some of it we can’t even say…” Perry joked. “We can’t say half of it!” Richie added.
“But he agreed with everything,” Perry shared. “He was just giving critiques at home. I guess, alone in his room.”
“He’s totally good,” Perry added, easing the minds of concerned fans. “I think he’s gonna be alright. I think we’ll be seeing him next week.”
— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) April 18, 2021
Bryan did indeed make his return to “American Idol” on Sunday night.