Luke Bryan has a job to do, and he won't let country music royalty get in the way.

The singer and American Idol judge was asked if it's hard to be objective when a country singer comes before the panel. Emmy Russell is an example from this season — her story offers potential for even more trepidation because of her famous grandma.

  • Russell has performed a pair of original songs on her way to the Top 24.
  • She's Loretta Lynn's granddaughter, by way of Patsy Lynn Russell and her husband Phillip.
  • Bryan has been a judge on American Idol since 2018.

"At the end of the day, we have to be honest, because America's watching," he tells Taste of Country Nights host Evan Paul.

"I think if we start sending people through just because they have a connection with any form of music or if there's somebody famous — if we start sending people through that don't seem like they're worthy of it, I think that America will call us out on that."

Lionel Richie and Katy Perry are the other two American Idol judges. Perry is judging for the final time this year.

"They gotta be talented," Bryan continues. "They gotta have the goods, and obviously Emmy's got the goods."

His assessment wasn't 100 percent complimentary, however: During the conversation, he recognized that she's had great performances, but also performances that fell short. Bryan thought Lynn would be proud, however.

"To be able to say that your grandmother is Loretta Lynn, that certainly gets the room's attention," he shares.

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