Keith Urban Announces Return To “American Idol”

American Idol/YouTube

It’s been seven years since Keith Urban left his American Idol judge’s seat. Now he is returning to the show, but in a different role.

American Idol announced Friday (May 12) that Keith Urban will be back, but this time as a mentor to this season’s finalists.

“Once an IDOL judge, now our FINALE guest mentor! Welcome back, @keithurban!” the post read.

American Idol/Instagram

According to Billboard, Urban will mentor the final three contestants through their last performances of the season before one of them is name the 2023 American Idol. Keith will also be performing his hit “Wild Heart” during the three-hour finale.

Iam Tongi (18), Megan Danielle (20), Colin Stough (18), Wé Ani (24) and Zachariah Smith (19) are in the top five and will compete Sunday night (May 14) for a spot in the top 3 and a chance to be mentored by Keith Urban.

Urban replaced Idol judge Steven Tyler in 2013 for the show’s 12th season. He worked alongside longtime judge Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. He returned for seasons 13 through 15, judging with Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez. 

One of American Idol‘s most memorable moments came when Kelly Clarkson returned to the Idol stage to sing “Piece by Piece.” Urban was unable to hold back his tears as Kelly sang the heartbreaking lyrics.

Watch the American Idol finale, featuring Keith Urban, on Sunday (May 21) at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.