Jimmie Allen is set to be a guest mentor for the top 24 contestants on the upcoming 20th season of American Idol, alongside “Meant to Be” hitmaker Bebe Rexha. The Country Music Association’s reigning new artist of the year made the announcement on Tuesday (Feb. 15) while at Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa.
“Cannot wait for you guys to see the talent they have in store for you,” Allen said in his announcement video.
Season 20 of American Idol is set to premiere Sunday, Feb. 27, on ABC. This season, Allen and Rexha replace media personality Bobby Bones, who previously served as an in-house mentor for the past four years. In January, Bones announced he will not be returning this season as an Idol mentor due to scheduling conflicts with another show he is working on.
Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie are set to return to the judges’ table.
In addition to being a former contestant on Idol, Allen also returned to the show in season 19 to perform duets with contestants Alanis Sophia and Cecil Ray. No stranger to competitions, Allen also competed on Dancing With the Stars in season 30, and earned a seventh-place finish with his pro dance partner Emma Slater.
Allen currently tops Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart with “Freedom Was a Highway,” his duet with Brad Paisley. This marks Allen’s third Country Airplay No. 1 hit, following “Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To.” Allen penned “Freedom Was a Highway” with Ash Bowers and Matthew J. Rogers.
“This song is super special to me,” Allen recently told Billboard. “I wrote it about the streets I grew up driving on in Milton and Lewes, Delaware. It has been amazing to see the song connect with so many people.”
Additionally, Allen is nominated for best new artist at the upcoming Grammy Awards. Last year, he expanded on his 2020 Bettie James EP, with the release of Bettie James Gold Edition, which included duets with Monica, Little Big Town and more.
In another Idol link, Allen welcomed recent American Idol winner Chayce Beckham to open shows on his Down Home Tour 2022, which launched on Feb. 3. Also opening shows on the tour are duo Neon Union, as well as Madeline Merlo.