Why “American Idol” Contestant Madai ChaKell Mocked Luke Bryan's Voice in Hollywood Week Performance

ChaKell's heated exchange with the country star judge took place during Sunday night's episode

<p>John Shearer/Getty, Disney/Eric McCandless</p> Luke Bryantèni Nashville June 2023 in Nashville; Madai ChaKell on

John Shearer/Getty, Disney/Eric McCandless

Luke Bryantèni Nashville June 2023 in Nashville; Madai ChaKell on 'American Idol'

Things were not ideal between Luke Bryan and an American Idol contestant on a recent episode.

On Sunday night's episode, a situation got heated when hopeful singer Madai ChaKell performed Ariana Grande's "Tattooed Heart" for Bryan and his fellow judges, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — ultimately leading the contestant to mock the country star's southern accent.

Ahead of her performance, the 22-year-old singer spoke with Ryan Seacrest about Bryan's thoughts on her not being ready to be on the show before.

"I definitely tapped more into myself since he said I probably didn't really know who I was," ChaKell said. "I did some more digging and found more of her. I just want to prove to Luke that I am a true performer and artist."

After the contestant arrived onstage she began a take, but apologized and asked if she could start over.

During her second attempt, she paused and tried to sing a capella because it was "not flowing the way we practiced."

<p>Disney/Eric McCandless</p> Madai Chakell performs on 'American Idol'

Disney/Eric McCandless

Madai Chakell performs on 'American Idol'

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After finishing the song, the "Buy Dirt" singer, 47, gave her feedback. "So Madai, are you feeling OK?" Bryan asked her, to which she replied: "Um, I'm handling it."

He continued, "Is your voice 100 percent?"

ChaKell acknowledged her voice "was not where I would like it" to be.

"I got you. Obviously, I don't know what went on in rehearsals, but a lot of stuff going on up there. It was a little shaky in some spots. But thanks for performing for us. Thank you," Bryan told her.

In an interview following the performance, ChaKell claimed that the pianist went rogue on what they had rehearsed. "Then we tried to also play the card, 'Is your voice OK?' What do you think?" she remarked. "I was shaky because look at what y'all just did! Is your voice OK, Luke? I haven't heard you sing! Obviously, I can sing."

ChaKell was then given a second chance to perform for the judges, and Bryan said, "It's great to have you back, and we understand all the dynamics of it now, and we're glad that you get another opportunity. Like I said, in this moment, your moment, we want you in the most comfortable situation possible."

"With that being said, can I have a chair, perhaps? Because I'm getting a little shaky," ChaKell replied, seemingly referring to the "One Margarita" artist's previous comment about her "shaky" vocals.

This time, at the end of the track, she added a southern twang to the word "heart."

<p>Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images</p> Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan

Perry and Richie both applauded, but Bryan didn't look pleased and asked why she opted for the accent.

Chakell replied in a British accent: "You know, you said something before, like, I don't really know who I am quite yet, so I wanted to show you that I can be everyone and everything. Isn't that what an American Idol is?"

After she walked off stage, Bryan added, "Maybe we'll do American Humble at some point. Probably not winning the audience for that one."

In a separate interview, ChaKell stood by her comments. "I am proud of the moment because I just feel like it definitely showed my boss energy. But yeah, it is what it is, y'all know what it is," she said.

After the episode aired, ChaKell went on Instagram Live with Perez Hilton and stood by her exit from the show.

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<p>Disney/Eric McCandless</p> Luke Bryan on 'American Idol'

Disney/Eric McCandless

Luke Bryan on 'American Idol'

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"My attitude, honestly in my opinion, I feel that it was warranted," the contestant said, claiming that the pianist intentionally sabotaged her performance and that the judges were in on it.

ChaKell continued: "People find me to have a bad attitude because they don't know me. So me speaking up for myself and talking to judges who know what's really going on behind the scenes," she said. "What I was saying was not for the viewers to understand. Luke Bryan and the rest of the judges knew exactly what I meant when I said, 'Is your voice OK,' because you know what we're doing. You know what you're doing. You've been talking all week. If you were asked to sing right now, how would you sound? Because you know all the work that we're doing behind the scenes aside of what you guys put on TV."

Ultimately, ChaKell said that she didn't want to continue on the show due to contract restrictions and it was not her "dream."

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