Steve Granitz/FilmMagic Jason Davis/WireImage

Luke Bryan Reacts to Lainey Wilson Being Rejected from 'American Idol'

"I’m glad she didn’t take the Idol letdown to heart."

Lainey Wilson is one of country music's biggest stars today, but years before her hit songs and many awards (including a Grammy), Wilson was an up-and-coming musician struggling to make her mark in the industry.

The Louisiana-born singer moved to Nashville after high school to forge a career in country music by playing shows and co-writing with other artists. She also tried her hand at singing competition shows, auditioning for both "American Idol" and "The Voice." Surprisingly, Wilson failed to get past the first audition on either show. She even attempted to earn a spot on "Idol" seven different times.

Wilson shared her "Idol" audition history on a May 2023 episode of Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton. The singer had recently performed on the season finale "Idol" as the now-successful musician she is, and she joked about finally making it to that hallowed stage.

"I finally made it on 'American Idol,'" she said. "I tried out 7 times.  I took the long way around, but finally made it on 'American Idol.' I never made it through. I never made it past the first round.  I also tried out for 'The Voice.' I'm grateful my story ended the way that it did."

Thankfully, Wilson didn't need a show to shoot to the top of the country music ranks. The fact that Wilson was rejected so many times is surprising to fans, but current "Idol" coach Luke Bryan was also shocked. In a November 2023 interview, Helton mentioned Wilson's "Idol" history to Bryan, and he was genuinely confused.

"I didn't know that; that was the first time I heard that, but I'll go see my producers today and find out what happened," he said. "I'm glad she didn't take the Idol letdown to heart. It also shows we don't always get it right."

Bryan is currently judging alongside Lionel Richie and Katy Parry on Season 22 of the show. "American Idol" airs Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

READ MORE: Lainey Wilson Performs Medley of Hits, Wins Female Country Artist of the Year at People's Choice Awards