Jelly Roll Hints at Return to ‘American Idol’ as Fans Urge ABC to Make Him a Judge

Jelly Roll

ABC "American Idol" season 22 mentor Jelly Roll at Disney's Aulani resort & spa in Hawaii

Fans were so enchanted by music star Jelly Roll‘s appearance as a guest mentor on the April 8, 2024, episode of “American Idol,” they’re begging ABC to hire the “Save Me” singer full-time. And they might get their wish.

Jelly Roll has confirmed on social media and in new interviews how much he loved the experience, saying he could see himself doing more of it and that he even hopes to return to the show this season.

Given Katy Perry’s February announcement that she’s leaving the talent competition after season 22, and judge Luke Bryan confirming that he and Lionel Richie sign their contracts one year at a time, there’s opportunity for producers to switch things up for season 23.

Jelly Roll Live Tweets During ‘American Idol,’ Saying He Could See Himself Working With More Contestants

Though Jelly Roll has been a musician for years, his 2023 country album, “Whitsitt Chapel,” has been showered with accolades and awards, earning two Grammy nominations, winning multiple People’s Choice Awards, and Best New Artist Awards in both pop and country at the iHeart Music Awards, per Taste of Country.

The night after winning three CMT Awards including Video of the Year, per CBS, Jelly Roll watched his episode of “American Idol,” filmed in Hawaii at Disney’s Aulani resort in early February, and live-tweeted his reactions to performances by the 12 contestants he mentored. On April 7, the other 12 contestants were mentored by Grammy winner and former “Idol” contestant Tori Kelly.

A self-professed “American Idol” fan for years, Jelly Roll, 39, shared while live-tweeting during the show on April 8 how much he loved working with the contestants.

Much to fans’ delight, he tweeted,i could get used to doing this. #americanidol #jellytime”

‘American Idol’ Viewers Flood Social Media With Love for Jelly Roll’s Compassion & Advice

Jelly Roll, who also performed on the April 8 “Idol” episode seemingly burst onto the music scene in 2022 after a decade of pounding the pavement and turning his life around following multiple prison sentences for dealing drugs when he was young, according to USA Today. Now committed to speaking out about the fentanyl crisis in the U.S., Jelly Roll appeared before Congress in January to tell his story and urge them to consider stricter laws, the outlet reported.

As viewers watched him thoughtfully advise and then cheer them on from the side stage, sitting next to the three judges, social media exploded with love for the singer-songwriter, with countless calls for him to be added to the judging panel.

One person tweeted, “You were the best mentor I’ve ever seen on the show… and I’ve been watching since the beginning. You’d make a great judge. You could be the Fab Four. 😉”

Someone else replied, “When Katy leaves at the end of the year, you can take her place.”


The “American Idol” Instagram account lit up with requests for Jelly Roll to become a judge, too.

“Jelly Roll needs to replace Katy Perry when she leaves at the end of the season,” one fan wrote. “He’s amazing and he made the show the best I’ve ever seen it tonight!”

Another commented, “American idol needs JELLY ROLL ASAP his energy is freaking 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥”

Many fans were touched by the way Jelly Roll related to the contestants’ struggles, from nerves to life circumstances, and said he gave them solid advice that benefitted their performances and lives.

“You are the best part of the show,” one viewer tweeted to him. “Best mentor the show has ever had!! Why?? You are authentic, relatable and these young artists need to understand how important that is in an environment that sometimes gets caught up in appearance. It’s all about the story, gift and heart”

Another fan tweeted, “Okay, why isn’t #Jellyroll a judge on #AmericanIdol? He says everything I was thinking. He really gets singing and singers.”

On Instagram, one viewer wrote, “wow. Jelly Roll best coach/mentor/judge EVER. Brought out the best in every contestant – every single one had their best night yet. i couldn’t even remember one contestant from the other until Jelly Roll helped us see and know who they are!! ❤️🔥🙌👏😮”

Jelly Roll Loves Being Part of the ‘American Idol’ Family & Hopes to Return This Season

The world is Jelly Roll’s oyster right now, from winning awards to prepping a major summer tour, but he clearly has a big heart for “Idol.” His first time on the show was on the season 21 finale, when he performed with fellow country star Lainey Wilson and sang a duet with finalist Oliver Steele. 

“You know, for me it’s cool because I got to do the finale last season,” he told Access Hollywood while in Hawaii, “so now I’m coming back and it’s feeling like a family reunion a little bit.”

Though he loved all of the contestants he mentored, whom he nicknamed the “Jelly Dozen” on social media, he thinks several will rise to the top — and he wants to see it happen with his own eyes, he told Billboard.

“Of my 12, I think three or four of them could have a dogfight in the top five at the end of this,” he told the outlet. “This year is going to be intense. I might show up to one of those last live shows. I don’t want to see it on TV. I want to feel it in the room.”

Changing up the judging panel in future seasons wouldn’t be a contractual issue, given that Bryan recently confirmed on Taste of Country Nights that he, Richie and Perry typically sign one-year deals with “Idol” at the end of each season.

“Every year we re-kinda negotiate how we do ‘Idol,’ and it’s a year commitment,” he said. “It’s not like I have a five-year contract or anything,” he continued. “So when we start getting into the later stages of ‘Idol,’ we’ll start deciding whether we come back or not, and that’s how we have done it for seven years.”

With Perry leaving after season 22, that opens the door for not only a new judge but the possibility of additional changes or additions. The judging panel is usually announced mid-summer before a new season of “Idol” starts filming in the fall.