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Once an aspiring American Idol contestant himself, country star Jimmie Allen returned to the program’s stage as a performer on Sunday evening (April 4). During the Top 24 Solos and All-Star Duets episode, Allen appeared alongside Idol contestant Alanis Sophia, partnering with her to perform Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s collaboration “Shallow” from the A Star is Born soundtrack.

The country star is quite familiar with the song already, though—Allen and fellow country artist Abby Anderson recorded a version of it back in 2019.

Regarding his April 4 performance, Idol judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie gave Allen and Sophia a standing ovation. Allen advised Sophia that, “I feel like I tell everyone that wants to be a singer, Idol’s one of the best ways to really assess your talent. Mental toughness is super important on American Idol. Because if you get so wrapped up in how great everyone else sings, you can sometimes not deliver your best because you’re worried about how great someone else is.” Continuing, he noted to the judges, “In order for Alanis to succeed, she just has to sing it—like Lady Gaga never did it.”

Allen made it to the Hollywood rounds of American Idol in 2011 but was eliminated before reaching the show’s Top 24. In a 2019 Instagram post, he stated that his time on the show was a huge learning experience regarding how to take rejection in stride and never give up. This is not expected to be the Delaware-born star’s last appearance on this season of the program. Alongside working with Alanis Sophia, he will also be mentoring another Idol hopeful, Cecil Ray.