Chris Daughtry is going back to his old stomping grounds. Daughtry, who rose to fame after he was prematurely sent home on the fifth season of American Idol, is returning to the show for its reboot on ABC, according to Us Weekly. Chris Daughtry will make his debut as a judge for the ABC revival. Original Idol host Ryan Seacrest is reportedly in talks to return as host for the new version of the show.
An insider told Us that producers wanted a judges’ panel comprised of all former AI contestants and that their wish list included the show’s most successful alums, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson. Billboard reported that in a strange turn of events, Clarkson and Hudson are joining the rival NBC singing competition, The Voice, for the next two seasons, so they obviously won’t be sitting with Chris Daughtry on the Idol panel.
Chris Daughtry’s elimination from the original version of the TV talent competition was one of the biggest shockers in the show’s history. While Chris didn’t even make it to the Top 3 on his season, today the rock star ranks just behind first place finishers Clarkson and Underwood as far as post-Idol record sales go.
In fact, within hours after he was prematurely booted off of American Idol Season 5, rocker Daughtry was offered a job as the replacement lead singer for the rock band Fuel. According to USA Today, Fuel bass player Jeff Abercrombie and guitarist Carl Bell made Daughtry the offer via during a 2006 appearance on Extra, saying, “Chris, if you are watching, we’ve talked about this before, and if you want to entertain it again we’ll take it and go.”
But Daughtry told theT Charlotte Observer he had other plans for his career.
“I’m going to be doing my own thing,” Chris said at the time.
Chris Daughtry did return to American Idol a few times after his season. Not only was Daughtry’s hit song ‘Home” used every week during the American Idol results show in 2007, but in 2009 he performed his single “No Surprise” on the Fox reality show. Chris was also part of an Idol Boot Camp alongside Idol alums Randy Jackson and Adam Lambert in 2014, and, like all of the show’s big names, he also returned to perform duets with two contestants during the show’s final season in 2016.
ABC has promised “a bigger, bolder” Idol, and with Chris Daughtry as a judge, it’s clear they’re not afraid to rock the judges’ table. However, executives from Fox, the network that was home to the hit singing competition for 15 years, aren’t happy about the reboot, which comes less than two years after Idol supposedly signed off for good.
Fox TV chairman Dana Walden told Variety “it feels bad” knowing that the show is coming back on another network. While Walden didn’t comment on Chris Daughtry’s casting, the Fox exec said part of the reason the network parted ways with the FreemantleMedia series was because “they didn’t want to test out a new panel.”
“They felt like it had taken a long time to find the chemistry they had with [Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr.],” Walden said, according to Variety. “They ultimately said to us they would rather rest the show last year rather than make any changes, and that’s when we decided to call it the farewell season.”
Chris Daughtry has not publicly confirmed his return to American Idol, and Billboard was unable to reach Daughtry’s spokesperson for a comment.
Take a look at the video below to see Chris Daughtry on the American Idol stage last year.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]