Luke Bryan is standing up for his fellow American Idol judge Katy Perry in response to some viewer backlash Perry received during Season 21 of the reality show.

Specifically, Perry caught flak for a few thoughtless comments toward contestants, including a "mom-shaming" joke aimed at a 25-year-old mom of three, insinuating that Perry thought the contestant had too many children for her age. That contestant, Sara Beth, subsequently dropped out of the competition, despite Perry's efforts to get her to stay.

Backstage at Nissan Stadium before his CMA Fest performance on Sunday (June 11), Bryan told press that he thought some viewers were a little "too hard" on Perry during this season of Idol.

"I mean, we all get it ... We're judging kids at home that people fall in love with, so we're not gonna bat a thousand. We're not gonna bat a thousand, as judges," Bryan reasons.

"We're [also] gonna send a kid through that may get controversial," he goes on to say. A couple of the Idol standouts from past seasons have since run into scandal or legal troubles, including winner Laine Hardy, who was arrested for planting a listening device in an ex-girlfriend's college dorm room in 2022.

Still, Bryan points out that with a show as popular as American Idol, the judges are bound to make some decisions that don't sit well with all fans. That doesn't mean they're not putting their heart and soul into all the contestants' stories, he says.

"When me and Lionel and Katy sit down at the desk, in our hearts, we're doing the best we can. You know, Katy gets picked on for going out and trying to have fun, making a TV show," he reflects. "You can't be so safe in the moment that you're homogenized, [that] you can never go for a joke or a fun moment. Sometimes you gotta just say stuff and roll the dice on TV like that, however it gets perceived."

Bryan adds that making some fans angry simply goes along with the territory of being a celebrity — and he admires how Perry has handled the situation with grace.

"It may be my year next year. But we're conditioned and calloused for it," he relates. "And Katy's been dealing with that — it makes me appreciate her even more, just how big of a scale she's had to deal with that, her whole career."

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