Gabby Barrett Is Coming Back to 'American Idol' — the Show That Launched Her Career — to Mentor Contestants

The "I Hope" singer is coming back to the American Idol stage as a mentor for the hopeful contestants of Season 20

Gabby Barrett
Gabby Barrett. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty

Gabby Barrett is returning to American Idol to coach singers whose shoes she once walked in.

On Friday, Billboard revealed the 22-year-old country singer is coming back to the American Idol stage that launched her career — and introduced her to now-husband Cade Foehner — as a mentor for the hopeful contestants of Season 20.

Set to appear on the forthcoming April 24 episode, Barrett joins other previous contestants who've served as mentors this season including Ruben Studdard, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Lee DeWyze, Lauren Alaina, Haley Reinhart, Chayce Beckham, and Jimmie Allen. Popstar Bebe Rexha also appeared on the series as a Season 20 mentor.

In 2017, Barrett auditioned for American Idol in Nashville, Tennessee during Season 16 and remained in the competition through the season finale. Then, she was voted off in third place behind runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson and his girlfriend, winner Maddie Poppe.

Since her stint on the show, Barrett has scored two No. 1 hits on the Billboard U.S. Country Songs and U.S. Country Airplay charts with the six-times platinum-certified "I Hope" and its two-times platinum-certified follow-up single, "The Good Ones." Both tracks appear on the Munhall, Pennsylvania native's debut album Goldmine, which peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 following its June 2020 release.

Last year, Barrett spoke to PEOPLE about her meteoric rise to fame. "It's hard to look at everything when you're moving at a million miles an hour," she said at the time. "You're not really able to enjoy it — or at least I wasn't able to enjoy it and look at it as much as I could, and let everything sink in that was really happening with my work."

Cade Foehner and Gabby Barrett
Cade Foehner and Gabby Barrett. Kevin Mazur/Getty

Most of her initial success occurred amid COVID lockdown, during which she was also busy with the January 2021 birth of her and Foehner's first child, daughter Baylah. "I was crying happy tears about what's been happening because I've been working so hard," continued Barrett, reflecting on her eventful year. "It was just an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness."

Creating Goldmine amid pandemic-related social distancing restrictions was more difficult than giving birth, the singer told PEOPLE. "I was singing voice memos in the car, just singing in parts, because we were just trying to meet all of these deadlines… Everybody was just trying to help make it as perfect and as great as I wanted it to be," said Barrett. "Actually, giving birth was fairly easy, so I'm glad about that!"

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