Jordin Sparks, Clay Aiken, Phillip Phillips and more return to 'Idol' as mentors for Hollywood Week

'Idol' brings back its best to mentor contestants during Hollywood Week.

ByEvan Wyno and William Escobar OTRC logo
Saturday, March 25, 2023
'Idol' brings back its best mentors during Hollywood Week.
Familiar faces from previous seasons talk with On The Red Carpet about making their return as mentors for aspiring singers during Hollywood Week.

LOS ANGELES -- "American Idol" continues its 21-year celebration of amazing talent and remarkable entertainment. Familiar faces from previous seasons talk with On The Red Carpet about making their return as mentors for aspiring singers during Hollywood Week.

Season 5 winner and returning mentor, Jordin Sparks is thrilled to be back as a coach for an all-new group of passionate and talented singers. "I can help with certain things, I can assess certain things and also just encourage them to be who they are so, I'm very excited to be back here."

David Archuleta recalls his experience 15 years ago as a contestant. "You feel the pressure, there's like a lot of just this thickness in the air. People are excited but mostly nervous and it's just kind of an awkward place to be," the Season 7 runner-up explains. "So that's why it's like nice to be like, hey it's OK you can get through this and be a little bit of a relief to everybody." Like Archuleta, former Season 16 Idol contestant, Catie Turner shares her feelings about the stress of Hollywood Week. "Suddenly you get to Hollywood Week and your whole view of what your world is, is just crumbled 'cos you have a ton of people. Everyone is insane and you somehow have to deal with stress, self-doubt while still sounding good an um making friends," Turner said. "It's a lot at once and you and you're sleep deprived. It is insane. It is like singing bootcamp."

In addition to the stress of Hollywood week, Season 1 runner-up, Justin Guarini talks about his ability to channel nervous energy into something positive. "There's just a couple of little tweaks that can take them from being good to great. What I love to do in my job is to say, hey, take that pressure take those nerves - either let's get rid of them, leave them aside or let's use them," Guarini said. "So, I just love to take the energy and shift it and take their attention off the "I'm not good enough" and focus it more on being present and connecting."

For Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken, returning to the show that launched his career is an unforgettable experience. "When we checked in last night to the hotel, here right next to us there was a kid who is checking in, who is a contestant and it reminded me that yeah, I had to get here and check myself in, by myself that day," Aiken said. "It's almost in a way sort of the last moment of innocence really was that the beginning of Hollywood Week because after that it all took off and it's been like that for 20 years."

Phillp Phillips is grateful for being an "Idol" mentor. "This is my first time ever coming back as a mentor," the Season 11 winner said. "I feel like it's going really well, just talking, just communicating with these contestants. It's been fun and it was really cool honor for them to ask me. So yeah, hopefully we all get to learn a little bit of something this week."

Watch "American Idol" Sundays on ABC at 8/7c. Hollywood Week starts Sunday, April 2.