‘American Idol’ Recap: Luke Bryan Reconnects With Cystic Fibrosis Survivor

Ethan Payne, a survivor of cystic fibrosis, stunned judges as he performed a duet with Luke Bryan for his audition.

Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie of the television show American Idol speak onstage during the ABC Television/Disney portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Ethan Payne, a survivor of cystic fibrosis, stunned judges as he performed a duet with Luke Bryan for his audition.

According to Yahoo Entertainment, American Idol judge Luke Bryan found himself participating in an audition with Ethan Payne, a survivor of cystic fibrosis.

Payne revealed in his backstory that he was diagnosed with the deadly disease when he was 18-months-old. He admits that with the high death rate of those suffering the respiratory disease, oftentimes he feels like he “has no hope.”

At 13, he submitted a request to the Make-A-Wish foundation to have the opportunity to meet Luke Bryan. He said it was a great experience meeting his idol, but he never expected Bryan to ask him if he wants to sing “in front of 50,000 people tonight.”

Payne said yes and found himself on stage at one of Bryan’s concerts performing alongside the famous country music singer. Payne recalled that the “whole world had just shut down” as he was very emotional due to the rare opportunity.

After Bryan gave him his guitar and said his life would never be the same, Payne said the prediction came true and his life was totally different after that night.

As Payne walked out for his audition, Bryan immediately recognized the young man and noticed that he’d kept the guitar he gave him two years ago.

Luke Bryan at Hammerstein Ballroom on December 3, 2018
  Mike Coppola / Getty Images

This time, Payne was able to surprise Bryan by inviting him to the audition floor to join him in a duet.

Payne stunned the judges with his country singing and skills on the guitar. Bryan had a blast playing alongside the young man and it was a memorable audition.

Lionel Richie was impressed by his talent and said Payne was “an inspiration” and hoped “the whole world understands what they’re watching.”

Katy Perry loved Payne’s confidence to perform under pressure.

Giving his “yes,” Bryan said that he was impressed by Payne’s strength in not letting his disease hold him back and was living his life to the fullest.

Payne was blown away by receiving the golden ticket.

“I think of Luke as like a father figure. I felt honored. I felt like I was one of his own.”

Payne’s musical talents are even more impressive when considering that he sings while struggling with a respiratory disease that affects the lungs. Singing often requires good lung capacity and being able to overcome the weaknesses brought on by cystic fibrosis and participate in American Idol is stunning.

Going into the competition phase, the season has some strong contenders vying to be the next Idol. As The Inquisitr previously reported, one of this year’s successful auditions came from Shayy Winn, a legally blind teenager with a soulful voice that brought Richie to tears.