Luke Bryan Responds to Accusations of Performing Drunk

Luke Bryan

Heavy/ABC Country star and "American Idol" judge Luke Bryan

Country superstar Luke Bryan wants to set the record straight. The “American Idol” judge has become notorious for falling onstage during concerts, including a nasty spill on April 20, 2024. When video footage of his epic fall went viral, Bryan, 47, noticed many people commenting online assumed he fell because he was drunk — a rumor he wants to dispel.

The night after Bryan’s latest fall, he was back at the “Idol” judges’ table, laughing about the mishap with host Ryan Seacrest and his fellow judges, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, and blaming it on “good old-fashioned foolishness.”

During a May 7 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel‘s late-night show, Bryan said he was eager to address the rampant accusations that he’s performing drunk. However, Bryan has admitted in the past that he drinks vodka every night before his concerts, and he’s been known to drink alcohol onstage — including pulling a bottle of tequila out of his jeans during a 2023 concert.

Luke Bryan Insists the Cause of His Falls is ‘Not Alcohol’

After discussing Bryan’s recently-discovered fish allergy, Kimmel brought up Bryan’s April fall, admitting, “I’m a little worried about you.”

“You seem to be falling down a lot,” Kimmel continued, before playing a montage of Bryan’s stage falls caught on video by fans. “I mean it’s happening often, and it happened again just a couple weeks ago in Vancouver!”

As video played of the most recent fall, Bryan said, “Yeah, this is maybe the best one.”

Bryan has fallen many times on stage over the years. It’s even become a running joke in North Carolina that he always trips while performing there, according to CMT.

Though Bryan initially blamed a cell phone on stage for his most fall, he told Kimmel that he keeps a water bottle on stage and that he thinks that spilled, causing him to slip. It was that, he insisted, and not too much alcohol consumption that caused the fall.

“First of all, everybody — you check the comments on the fans talking about the fall and there’s nine out of 10 comments that point to me being drunk,” he told Kimmel.

“Oh,” Kimmel exclaimed, and then asked, “Were you?”

Bryan emphatically said, “No! But this is my chance to clear the air on this ‘drinking and fall(ing).’ I mean, listen. I’m 6’2, I’m up there trying to do my best Michael Jackson moves in too big of a frame. And when you add water to a stage and slick cowboy boots, you go down hard.”

“It’s not alcohol, fans,” Bryan insisted, looking at the audience. “Like, people are like, they’re assuming, like — you can’t just drink a bottle of vodka and do a two hour show.”

Kimmel joked, “Oh some do. I’ve seen it.”

Luke Bryan Said in 2022 That He Drinks Vodka Before Every Concert

Though Bryan continued to insist to Kimmel that the reason for his falls is simply that he’s “real active on stage,” the singer did admit “the content of my songs” often celebrates drinking, which could give people the wrong idea about his work ethic. Some of Bryan’s biggest hits have included “One Margarita,” “Drink a Beer,” and “But I Got a Beer in My Hand.”

“That doesn’t mean that I spend my whole life, while working — are you drunk now?” he asked Kimmel, who quickly quipped, “I am.”

Though Bryan may not typically get drunk while working, he admitted on the “Full Send” podcast in September 2022 that he does drink alcohol before most of his concerts, telling co-host Kyle Forgeard, “I love grapefruit juice and vodka.”

Holding his hands about a ruler’s length apart, Bryan said, “I drink one of those about that big before the show.”

Forgeard asked, “Every show?”

“Every show,” Bryan responded, and then remembered a point when he “swore off drinking” after too many times getting “wine drunk.” But when he tried to do a show in Orlando without drinking anything, he said he started feeling anxious about remembering all of his songs’ lyrics because he wasn’t “loose” enough.

“When I’m just, like, dead sober,” he said, and then paused. “I (haven’t) tried it in a minute. Maybe, like, another time I took a night off and I did okay.”

But there’s a difference, Bryan claimed on the podcast, between drinking to loosen up and performing drunk, which he said he has also done numerous times. The country star recalled always getting “drunk onstage” during his old spring break shows, and said there have been “five or six” times through the years when he got too wasted to perform.

Bryan then said he does tend to drink too much on the last night of his annual “Crash My Playa” concert festival in Mexico, when all of the artists come onstage to jam and, he said, “I’ll get pretty lit up.”

“And then one night,” Bryan continued, “we had a charity event at my house and I drank, like, a whole bottle. It was not the time to do it. I drank a whole bottle of Casamigos (tequila) on stage and, dude, it was bad.”

Bryan recalled getting in trouble because the sound carried so far on the still, quiet night, saying, “I said [expletive] about a zillion times on the mic and, like, a million people heard it.”

The next episode of “American Idol,” airs live on May 12, for Disney Night with the top 5 contestants. Meanwhile, Bryan’s “Mind of a Country Boy” tour picks up again in mid-June and lasts through the fall.