Lionel Richie has hilarious reaction to Luke Bryan's emotional moment on American Idol

The ABC judges are experts at banter

American Idol judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie had a hilarious moment on the show's latest installment, puncturing an emotional moment with a comedic one.

MORE: Lionel Richie left in tears by emotional American Idol audition

The country star seemed to have quite the strong reaction to contestant Leah Marlene's performance on the new live episode on Sunday night.

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Following her incredible routine, the judges praised her for her transformation over the course of the competition, with Luke in particular glowing with pride.

"The beauty of this show and why it works year after year is watching what is happening to you right now," he said to Leah.

MORE: Katy Perry talks disagreements with American Idol judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie

"It's really emotional for me and us to watch you grow and come out of your deal. What a masterful moment just then, from top to bottom."

Not only was the singer on stage left feeling overwhelmed, but seemingly Luke was too, as Katy Perry quickly started teasing: "Are you crying? He's crying!"


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Leah Marlene's performance and journey left Luke feeling emotional

"Crying back to mama," Luke replied just as Lionel was gearing up for his own critiques, interjecting with the word: "Amen!"

He then quipped: "I can't believe you've broken down the cowboy of life over here," which had the audience and the judging panel chuckling.

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Lionel then agreed with his fellow judge, however, saying he was "exactly right" in his words of praise for the young performer, who eventually acquired enough votes to become the first contestant of the night sent through to the Top 11.

The judges often enjoy engaging in comedic banter with each other and the contestants, never failing to cheer them up while also delivering harsher critiques when needed.

The judges are always quick to engage in witty, comedic banter

And while they've had several emotional moments over the course of the show, particularly during the auditions, their feedback has also left the fanbase divided on certain occasions, including in a previous studio audience installment which culminated in Luke receiving boos from the audience (and even Katy)  for his mixed critiques.

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