Season 20 of American Idol looks a little different without backstage mentor Bobby Bones dishing out advice to the contestants. The radio host announced in December 2021 that he would not be returning to the show for the historic 2022 season.
“Some of you noticed I’m not in the Idol promos this season,” he wrote in an Instagram Story. “My contract [with] my new network won’t let me do another show right now. Love Idol, btw. Was a great four years.”
At the time of his post, Bobby was in Costa Rica filming a new show that he was keeping under wraps. “The network hasn’t even announced the show yet,” he continued. “So, I’m going to chill for a bit. But it’s a really good show.”
The Dancing with the Stars winner first began working on the hit singing competition when it was revived on ABC in 2018. He served as a guest mentor during season 16 before he was promoted to a full-time mentor in the three seasons that followed.
Viewers got to see the contestants really open up to Bobby and listen to all of his amazing musical expertise to improve their performances. The Arkansas native grew close to several of the artists he met during his time working on American Idol.
“I don’t see Idol as [a job in which] I come in for an hour, leave and collect a paycheck. I’m really close to a lot of them,” he told TV Insider in February 2021. “I took Walker Burroughs out on tour. Emma Cline — I thought she was so good in Hawaii. I felt bad she got cut so early. She plays in my band and opened for me for a while. Gabby Barrett is killing it. We’re still close. It’s not just a show or episode. Once I’m here and commit, I’m going to stay here and help as much as I can.”
Though he will not be returning to American Idol in 2022, Bobby has celebrated some major career milestones since fans last saw him on season 19. He landed a show on National Geographic called Breaking Bobby Bones in May 2021. The “We Can’t Stand Each Other” singer performed at his own music festival, Bobby Fest, with his band, The Raging Idiots, in August 2021. One month prior to the big performance, he married Caitlin Parker in a stunning Tennessee ceremony. The pair met and fell in love in 2019.
“I had conversations with my mom growing up about when you fall in love with that right person and how you know,” the blonde beauty told People in July 2021 after tying the knot. “And she always told me that it’s just not hard. You will go through a lot of things together as a couple, but that the relationship itself shouldn’t be hard … And with Bobby, that’s how it’s always been. When I’m with him, there’s such a strong sense of peace about us no matter what it is we’re going through that day. I just know he’s the one for me.”