Luke Bryan’s ‘American Idol’ Focus Face Is Scaring People During Auditions
Luke Bryan knows that he can be a little scary during American Idol auditions. Several contestants have talked to him about his facial reactions during their auditions, including one finalist that he actually really loved.
"I get it from my dad," Bryan says of his "focus face." That's his name for the look he has when he's deep in concentration.
“My concentration face … it’s a negative look," the "What She Wants Tonight" singer admits to Taste of Country. "I’ve had a lot of contestants, when I’m really concentrating and really focused on what the contestants are doing, I’ve gone back to look at it and yeah, it’s not a pleasant look.”
Gabby Barrett saw it when she auditioned for American Idol in Nashville in 2017. She'd go on to become a third place finalist the following spring, but, “When I first did the audition, I didn’t know if he liked me … I was confused," she told us prior to her Hometown Rising set last fall.
When you re-watch her audition, you can see why. All three judges roughed her up quite a bit! Barrett tried to sing Carrie Underwood's "Good Girl" and was shut down. She suggested "Church Bells" and Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman," but was told that when she tries to sound country, she doesn't sound country. So she leaned into her church raising and advanced.
"With someone like Gabby," Bryan said prior to his Hometown Rising performance, "I think she is one of the more dynamic vocalists I’ve ever heard. So I’m studying her voice and I’m studying her potential.”
Hopefuls auditioning for Season 18 of American Idol may not know that, however. All they will see is one of country music's most well-known singers with his brow furrowed, maybe chewing on a pen or pencil. That's not the universal expression of joy or delight, and Bryan knows it.
“My focus face, I might need a little work on that. I’ll contact my plastic surgeon for a more polite focus face," he jokes.
The 18th season of American Idol is the third on ABC. The show begins on Sunday (Feb. 16) at 8PM ET. Last year's winner was 19-year-old Laine Hardy.
On Friday, Bryan announced the track list for his new Born Here, Live Here, Die Here album. He also shared the cover art and the title track with fans.
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