'American Idol': Bobby Bones Is Eager to Return in 2020 for First Full Season (Exclusive)

Bobby Bones will return for his third time on American Idol, when the show returns early next year. Because of Bones' run on Dancing With the Stars last year, next season will mark his first full season on the reality TV talent show, and the radio host can't wait to begin.

"It's my third season being on the show, since it's at ABC," Bones exclusively told PopCulture.com. "The first season, I just went in and was only going to do one episode. They said 'Hey, come in as a mentor one episode,' and that rolled over to two it ended up being four that season. So they brought me back full-time last season, but I missed the very beginning of that show, because I was still dancing on Dancing with the Stars. This is the first season that I'll be all the way in from the beginning from the audition process. We actually go to Savannah, Georgia next week and start."

Bones' Idol return also gives him time to hang out with host Ryan Seacrest, and the three judges, Luke Bryan, Katty Perry and Lionel Richie. Just as importantly, the show allows Bones to meet people who dream of a better life, something Bones is all too familiar with, after growing up in poverty in Arkansas.

"Me, Luke, Lionel, Katie, and Ryan will all be at all these stops," Bones said. "And what's cool about that is, American Idol's the only show that goes out into the cities. A lot of the other shows, you have to go and audition and hopefully you get put through, but Idol, we pack up our stuff and we go and make sure that people can get there and I think that's why you get a lot of people with great stories.

"I think that's why I've been able to find a home on that show," he continued. "A lot of these contestants, singers, whatever you wanna call them, they have similar backgrounds to me where they wouldn't be able to afford to fly to Los Angeles to do an audition. And so, they're able to make it in the first round with the producers. A place like Savannah, they can be from anywhere in the Southeast, drive there, and then once they get the Golden Ticket, they get paid to go to Hollywood."

Bones is used to jetting all over the country, but having friends join him makes the experience that much more enjoyable for him.

"For me I'm excited because one, I love the judges," Bones said. "Luke and I are super close, and so it's good to be able to have a friend. 'Cause a lot of times I do TV shows and I'm out there, and I'm the only guy from country music or from the middle of America. I'm out there with Luke, and Ryan and I are pretty close."


A premiere date for American Idol has yet to be announced.

Photo Credit: Getty images / John Shearer