Carrie Underwood returning to 'American Idol' as surprise guest mentor

It's full circle for Carrie Underwood

Sunday night's American Idol came with a special announcement -- the season four Idol winner would be returning to the show as a superstar guest mentor for this season's top five contestants. 

The 35-year-old country crooner will also perform her latest single, "Cry Pretty," on the Idol stage, bringing her back to the place that started it all, 13 years later. 

In the meantime, Gabby Barrett, Cade Foehner, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Maddie Poppe and Michael J. Woodward are headed to Nashville, Tennessee, where they'll have a special mentoring session with the "Dirty Laundry" singer before putting their own spins on songs from her catalogue. 

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Carrie Underwood returns to the stage at ACM Awards
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Carrie Underwood returns to the stage at ACM Awards
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/ACMA2018/Getty Images for ACM)
53rd Academy of Country Music Awards - Show - Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., 15/04/2018 - Carrie Underwood performs "Cry Pretty." REUTERS/Mike Blake
53rd Academy of Country Music Awards - Show - Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., 15/04/2018 - Carrie Underwood performs "Cry Pretty." REUTERS/Mike Blake
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/ACMA2018/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/ACMA2018/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/ACMA2018/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jason Kempin/ACMA2018/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Keith Urban (L) and Carrie Underwood accept the Vocal Event of the Year award for 'The Fighter' onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Keith Urban (L) and Carrie Underwood accept the Vocal Event of the Year award for 'The Fighter' onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jason Kempin/ACMA2018/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
53rd Academy of Country Music Awards - Show - Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., 15/04/2018 - Carrie Underwood performs "Cry Pretty." REUTERS/Mike Blake
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ET's Lauren Zima caught up with a few of the contestants backstage after Sunday's live broadcast to see how they were handling the news. 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native Barrett told ET that she was jumping up and down onstage "like a flopping fish" when Underwood's involvement was announced. "I'm wearing heels right now and I didn't even know I could jump in these heels," she joked. 

"I had to fight back tears, I really had to, because [Underwood] is just somebody that I've looked up to my entire life," the 18-year-old singer added. "Ever since she won on American Idol I've just really watched her grow as a person, and her family, and how she sings and how she acts and just everything about her. So, I'm gonna freak out when I meet her and probably gonna cry." 

As for Foehner, he's looking to get some practical tips. "Shoot, first I want to pick her brain how she survived this," he said. "Next, I want to figure out how I can take her song and make it my own with respect to her. 'Cause I love her catalogue and I want to pay dues to it." 

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New 'American Idol' judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan
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New 'American Idol' judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan
AMERICAN IDOL - ABC's 'American Idol' judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. (Eric Liebowitz/ABC via Getty Images)
AMERICAN IDOL - American Idol, the iconic series that revolutionized the television landscape by pioneering the music competition genre, will return to airwaves on SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), at its new home on The ABC Television Network. (Eric Liebowitz/ABC via Getty Images) LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, LUKE BRYAN
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan leave ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Times Square on October 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
AMERICAN IDOL - '101 (Auditions)' - The gold standard of all music competition series, American Idol, will make its highly anticipated return to television as superstar judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie set out on a journey across the nation to discover a new crop of inspiring talent with a touch of Disney magic, as it premieres its first season at its new home on Americas network, The ABC Television Network, SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT). (Eric Liebowitz via Getty Images) LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, LUKE BRYAN
AMERICAN IDOL - '101 (Auditions)' - The gold standard of all music competition series, American Idol, will make its highly anticipated return to television as superstar judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie set out on a journey across the nation to discover a new crop of inspiring talent with a touch of Disney magic, as it premieres its first season at its new home on Americas network, The ABC Television Network, SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT). (Eric Liebowitz via Getty Images) RYAN SEACREST, LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, LUKE BRYAN
AMERICAN IDOL - '101 (Auditions)' - The gold standard of all music competition series, American Idol, will make its highly anticipated return to television as superstar judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie set out on a journey across the nation to discover a new crop of inspiring talent with a touch of Disney magic, as it premieres its first season at its new home on Americas network, The ABC Television Network, SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT). (Eric Liebowitz via Getty Images) LUKE BRYAN, KATY PERRY, LIONEL RICHIE
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 08: (L-R, Back Row) Showrunner/executive producer Trish Kinane, co-executive producer Megan Michaels Wolflick (l-r, front row) host Ryan Seacrest, judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie of the television show American Idol speak onstage during the ABC Television/Disney portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 8, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
(L-R) Singers/Songwriters Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie attend the Disney ABC Television TCA Winter Press Tour on January 8, 2018, in Pasadena, California. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) Singers/Songwriters Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie attend the Disney ABC Television TCA Winter Press Tour on January 8, 2018, in Pasadena, California. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
TCA WINTER PRESS TOUR 2018 - 'American Idol' Happy Hour - The cast and executive producers of 'American Idol' addressed the press at Disney | ABC Television Group's Winter Press Tour 2018. (Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images) LUKE BRYAN, KATY PERRY, LIONEL RICHIE
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