Alex Miller Loses His ‘Idol’ Spot, But Gets an Invite to Play the Grand Ole Opry From Luke Bryan [Watch]
American Idol contestant Alex Miller bid farewell to Hollywood during the show's latest episode on Sunday night (March 28), but now he's getting ready to set foot on another stage: The Grand Ole Opry.
Prior to Sunday night's full-band Showstopper performance, judge Luke Bryan encouraged Miller to step outside his comfort zone. The 17-year-old Kentucky native has been expertly showcasing his country chops with covers by the likes of Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell since the start of the season, and during his duet performance with fellow country-leaning Idol hopeful EmiSunshine last Monday (March 22), Bryan criticized him for sticking too firmly in his traditionalist wheelhouse.
"I wanna see what Alex Miller morphs into," Bryan explained. "So throw us a curveball. Pick a pop song. How you play this thing, you're gonna become a legitimate artist and not just the kid from Kentucky."
Given the advice he'd previously been given, it was no surprise on Sunday night when Bryan looked disappointed as Miller launched into Merle Haggard's 1969 release, "Silver Wings." The performance earned Miller smiles from the judges and a "Good job, buddy," from Bryan. Ultimately, though, he was eliminated for focusing too much on imitating traditional country stylings and not enough on highlighting his own musical individuality.
However, there was some good news for Miller after his elimination: Once he'd returned to Kentucky, he got a Zoom call from none other than Bryan himself, who extended an exciting surprise invitation.
"I made some calls to my good friends at the Grand Ole Opry, and they agreed to let my buddy Alex Miller come perform at the Grand Ole Opry," Bryan revealed. "And maybe [I'll] share the stage with you a little bit, if you'll have me!"
"It would be my honor, Mr. Luke Bryan," Miller beamed in response, adding that he'd visited the Opry with his family when he was nine years old. "And I always said, 'I'm gonna go out there and sing on that circle one day, and this is coming full circle for me now. So thank you so much, oh my God!"
American Idol airs on ABC on Sunday and Monday nights at 8PM ET. On Monday (March 29), show will continue its Showstopper/Final Judgment rounds.
Where Are They Now? Country's Biggest American Idol Stars: