"Every phase of your entertainment career is about pushing yourself in new little avenues and new little challenges," Luke Bryan reasons. But that doesn't mean he's jumping to agree to every last opportunity without thinking it over.

Take American Idol, for example: Bryan is now in his fourth season as a judge on the TV singing competition, which now airs on ABC. It's proved to be a wonderful experience, the country star reflects, but he had to work through some reservations before he signed on.

"My biggest thing with Idol is, 'Well, will it affect my music career?'" Bryan remarked during an artist Q&A at the 2021 Country Radio Seminar. He worried that fans would think he was moving on from country music.

So, he called a couple friends who'd done the very same thing: "I had some talks with Blake Shelton, which I would never recommend," Bryan shares, getting in yet another snarky jab at his buddy, "and I even called Keith Urban up."

Bryan has previously said that while it was fellow Idol judge Lionel Richie who recommend him for a spot on the show, Shelton — who has been a coach on another TV singing competition, The Voice, since it began in the early 2010s — was the one who urged him to take the role.

Urban, meanwhile, had direct experience with American Idol, as he'd been a judge during the show's 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th seasons, when it aired on Fox. Both men told Bryan they thought he'd "enjoy learning something different."

Even still, Bryan experienced some nervousness. By the time he, Richie and Katy Perry filled the judges' seats, Idol had run for 15 seasons on Fox and been canceled by the network, only to be revived by ABC.

"We got a great brand handed to us," the country star says, and they knew they had to be good stewards of it.

"It's very stressful, because the camera is on you, and what you say is only half of it," the "One Margarita" singer explains, noting that his facial expressions and body language matter in those moments, too. "It makes you pretty aware of your surroundings."

When Idol's 19th season premiered on Feb. 14, though, Bryan says he "watched that premiere with more pride than I've had the whole [run of the show] — 'cause I really was proud of the show."

"You've got to deliver a great show that'll work, and I really felt like the premiere was really -- everybody was clicking on all cylinders," he adds, "and that's a fun place to be."

American Idol airs Sundays at 8PM ET on ABC.

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