Everything You Need to Know About American Idol’s New Mentor, Bobby Bones

American Idol is back on ABC for its 17th season and we couldn’t be more pumped to see how this season goes. Even though the judges this season remain the same (that would be Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan), American Idol has added Bobby Bones as a contestant mentor for the season. But who is Bones and why would he be such a solid fit for American Idol

Some of you may recognize Bones from a successful run on Dancing With the Stars in 2018. Others may remember that he was briefly a part of American Idol season 16, working with the top 24 contestants for a short time before they performed celebrity duets for a special episode. It looks like ABC loved Bones’ season 16 work because they’ve expanded his role for season 17. So, before you watch him offer advice and industry expertise on American Idol, let’s get to know him on a personal level. 

Here are some key things you should know about Bones, the newest American Idol mentor.

1. His got his start in radio

His nationally syndicated radio program, The Bobby Bones Show, is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Although his roots were in Top 40 music, his show was moved from Austin, Texas to Nashville in 2012 and the format was changed to country. The program went to national syndication in February 2013 and is now the biggest country music morning show in the U.S.

2. He’s an occasional actor

Color us very surprised to learn that Bones not only has roots in radio, but he’s also had a few acting gigs in his time. In 2009, he appeared in a small role in the movie Bandslam with Vanessa Hudgens. He also played himself in two episodes of the TV series Nashville, which no doubt was an easy role to play. 

3. His childhood wasn’t easy

Bones opened up about his rough childhood during his time on DWTS, frequently sharing stories during one-on-one moments with his dance partner, Sharna Burgess. From this, viewers learned that Bones grew up with a teen mother who had him at 15 years old and that his father was absent from his life. His mother eventually passed away from her struggles with alcohol and drug addiction.

4. His Dancing With the Stars win was controversial

Speaking of DWTS, Bones won the Mirrorball Trophy on DWTS season 27 with Burgess. He was a controversial winner amongst the DWTS fan base because some felt he wasn’t the strongest dancer out of the four finalists. He also joined the DWTS tour for several stops as one of their celebrity performers in 2018.

5. He’s an author

Bones has two New York Times best-selling books. The first book, Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book, was published in 2016. His second book, Fail Until You Don’t: Fight. Grind. Repeat., was released in 2018. Both published works are memoirs and self-help books based on his experiences during childhood and making his way in the radio business.

6. He’s in the Radio Hall of Fame

Bones was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in November 2017 and he is the youngest person ever to be voted in. At the ceremony, he was hilariously introduced as “Bobby Jones” instead of Bobby Bones.

7. He’s thought about going into politics

In January 2017, Bones, currently registered as an Independent, announced that he was mulling a run for governor in his home state of Arkansas for the November 2018 election. He changed his mind only a few months later, nixing the idea. Now, he is reportedly considering a “2022 and maybe, 2026″ run for office. We’ll be curious to see if he actually follows through on this one.

8. He once pulled an unbelievable stunt

In the weirdest story about Bones, he once broadcast a fake Emergency Alert System tone on his syndicated show on Oct. 24, 2014 after ranting about that same tone interrupting the broadcast of the World Series game the night before. Of course, this was a very problematic thing to do and it incurred an FCC violation that cost iHeartMedia $1 million in fines. Yikes.

9. He once got into it with Bachelor Nation star Wells Adams

Bones and his cohosts on The Bobby Bones Show teased that Bachelor Nation star Wells Adams was living off his girlfriend Sarah Hyland’s money and that she would be paying for an engagement ring. That didn’t sit too well with Adams, who hit back on his own show, Your Favorite Things. Bones swears he didn’t say anything negative and took to Twitter to shut down rumors of a beef. Thankfully, there’s peace between the guys now.

American Idol season 17 airs on ABC every Sunday at 8/7c. 

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