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American Idol’s Madai ChaKell Is ‘Speaking Up’ After Tense Exchange With Judge Luke Bryan

American Idol's Madai Chakell Is ‘Speaking up for Myself’ After Tense Exchange With Luke Bryan
Madai Chakell, Luke Bryan. Disney(2)

American Idol contestant Madaí ChaKell is setting the record straight after fans witnessed her tense exchange with judge Luke Bryan.

“The truth, yes, the truth, ya’ll,” Madaí, 22, told followers during an Instagram Live with Perez Hilton following the Sunday, March 31, episode. “I’m about to talk about it.”

According to Madaí, “People find me to have a bad attitude because they don’t know me.” She emphasized that she’s “speaking up for myself and talking to judges who know what’s really going on behind the scenes” while attempting to explain her side of the story.

“What I was saying was not for the viewers to understand,” she continued. “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.”

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She wondered, “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 [from] what you guys put on TV.”

Madaí claimed her attitude was “warranted” because she’s “very seasoned” in the industry.  “Why are we talking about me right now?” she argued. “Why are we not talking about who is still in the show?”

The atmosphere got heated on Sunday’s episode of Idol when Madaí performed Ariana Grande‘s “Tattooed Heart” during Hollywood week. Before her performance, she spoke with host Ryan Seacrest and noted that Luke, 47, previously doubted her readiness for the show.

“I definitely tapped more into myself since he said I probably didn’t really know who I was,” she 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.”

American Idol's Madai Chakell Is ‘Speaking up for Myself’ After Tense Exchange With Luke Bryan
Disney/Eric McCandless

When she took the stage, she paused midway through the song, asking, “Hold on. Can we start this over? I wasn’t feeling that one. Sorry, y’all.”

Madaí stopped once again and said she was going to attempt singing the song acapella, saying it was “not flowing the way we practiced.”

After she finished, Luke asked, “Are you feeling OK?” Madaí replied that she was “handling it,” but Luke pressed further.

“Is your voice 100 percent?” he asked, to which she responded, “Not to where I would like it.”

Luke went on to share some honest feedback. “I got you,” he said. “Obviously, I don’t know what went on in rehearsals, but a lot of stuff [was] going on up there. It was a little shaky in some spots. But thanks for performing for us.”

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Later, Madaí accused the piano player of “flipping the script” on what had been rehearsed. “Then we tried to also play the card, ‘Is your voice OK?’ What do you think?” she quipped. “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.”

When Madaí was given yet another chance to perform, Luke 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.”

The contestant responded by referencing Luke’s prior commentary on her performance. “Can I have your chair, perhaps?” she asked. “Because I’m getting a little shaky.”

After finishing the song, Madaí received applause from judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, but Luke was less impressed with some of her artistic choices. “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,” she replied in a fake British accent when Luke questioned the performance. “Isn’t that what an American Idol is?”

Luke fired back, “Maybe we’ll do American Humble at some point,” adding, “Probably not winning the audience for that one.”

American Idol airs on ABC Sundays at 8 p.m. ET.

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