ABC/Brian Bowen SmithThe COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new way of life to the set of American Idol. 

Judge Luke Bryan says that due to the ongoing pandemic, there's a set of new rules and restrictions in place to keep everyone safe. The singer shares that one of the aspects he and fellow judges Lionel Richie and Katy Perry miss most is the human connection between them and the contestants in the audition room. 

"The interesting thing is just trying to navigate all of the new rules of COVID-19. One tricky thing is a lot of times during the audition process, contestants will get very, very emotional and it will be an emotional situation for them. The fact that me and Lionel and Katy can't walk out there and do the human element -- hug and show support and love -- is very, very tough," Luke explains to People

"When someone is hurting and they're emotional, you want to console them and hug them and love on them to help them through," he continues. "The fact that sometimes we can't go put our arms around them is pretty heartbreaking."

Season four of the American Idol reboot premiered Sunday on ABC.

By Cillea Houghton
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