Bobby Bones' journey to 'American Idol'

The acclaimed radio host talked about life growing up in Arkansas and becoming an integral part of the popular talent show.
7:02 | 05/10/19

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Transcript for Bobby Bones' journey to 'American Idol'
How awesome to get a call with good news. Right. How awesome would it be? It would be really, really good news. Reporter: When it comes to advice, Bobby bones is the guy to go to. The famed radio deejay is the show's in-house mentor, helping guide these young hopefuls on their journey to become the next "American idol." Welcome to "American idol"! Reporter: Even filling in for Ryan as host. I look most like him, so they asked me to fill his shoes Reporter: Do people ever get you and Ryan confused? I think we're just two white dudes. Sometimes he wears glasses, too. Two white guys with glasses, you don't know the difference, but Ryan's a lot richer than I am. I don't know that they get us that confused. There's so many different kinds of wonderful artists here. Reporter: You're an integral part of the show. Is it intimidating? To walk out on the stage with those big "American idol" letters are on, I go if I could tell the kid in me watching this show that this was going to happen I don't think I would have believed me. It's a legacy. And I don't want to be the one to screw it up. Really, I don't. Reporter: 39-year-old bones is having a moment. But it was a long road to get here. You know, I come from a really small town of 700 people in mountain pine, Arkansas. I grew up without a dad, and my mom was an addict, too, who ended up dying in her 40s. For me, I needed to break the cycle somehow. I needed to get an education and get out. I was the first kid to graduate high school and college from my family, from the days when I was 5, 6, 7 years old sleeping on the couch. When I went to college is when I first had a bed. I wanted to show others they could do it. If I can do it, I think anyone out there can do it. Here she is, dolly parton, everybody. Reporter: Today he's one of the most influential voices on the radio. The most intimidating room in all of Nashville. Reporter: The Bobby bones show plays to an audience of millions. I'm so over me. None of us are over you, Bobby. Nobody's over Bobby bones but you. Reporter: He's also a stand-up comedian. As you may know, I'm an awkward person. Reporter: And has authored not one but two "New York Times" sellers. Last year he waltzed his way into America's hearts on "Dancing with the stars," putting on the greatest show. This is the greatest show Bobby and Sharla. Reporter: At the end, taking home the coveted mirror ball trophy. What was that experience like? It was okay. I mean, it was just like being dropped in a foreign country and going survive. Week one I fell down and hurt myself. I wiped out pretty hard on the show, but I got through, and I kept getting through, you know, like I tell them on "American idol," you don't have to be the best singer. If you're trying to be the best singer you're not going to win. But you can be America's favorite singer. I think I was their favorite. And I won with, you know, what I use every day. And that is just be who you are. Reporter: Who is Bobby bones? Who, who am I? I'm someone who, I love what I do. I talk to a lot of people in a lot of different ways, but I think I'm able to be successful because I think they see me in them. Will you use the one save of the season tonight? Yes. Reporter: Sunday's episode ended in a shocking scene. You're all so great. I love you so much. Lacy. Reporter: With the credits rolling, the judges used their power to spare lacy, sending home a fan favorite, Jeremiah we were on set ahead of that surprise upset. Catching up with bones and the contestants just hours before showtime. There are so few of you now. We can get all of you guys into one room now. I'm really proud of all you guys. We've been together six months now. That's longer than any other relationship I've had in the last few years. The goal is to do your best and let the end come to you. Reporter: How would you describe what Bobby has meant to you? Bobby has helped me out when I've been on the show. When I'm having a bad day, he'll talk to me, and I'll use those tips and advice that he's given me, and it will make me happier. One thing that appreciate about Bobby is that he's approachable, and whether you're in front of the camera or not in front of the camera, he's like, hey, you can talk to me. And I feel like I've been able to confide with Bobby. I remember on Hollywood week when I was going to do an original song, and he was like, that's a really big risk. And one of my biggest performances was that song. Reporter: So what has that process been like, being a mentor and really getting to know these young people at this crazy moment of their life? When I come into the show, it's, when there are 1,000 people, you're with them with all the cuts. You won't make eye contact. You're seeing them not only grow as singers, but them get to experience new things. And some of them grow as people. Some are so young. Like I look at Madison. This is my last night with you And I go holy crap, like you're 17 years old, and she has such poise. I really just want to be someone who helps them grow. If you've just tuned in, do not adjust your TV sets. I'm Bobby bones standing in for a sick Ryan Seacrest. Reporter: Living out his very own American I mean, when you're starting off, was this even part of your wildest dreams? Did you know these kind of opportunities were even possible in life? Yeah, I hoped. I think if you don't set your goal super high no one else will. I don't know if it was "American idol" specifically. I have much bigger goals. If I don't, who's going to? And I don't know if that's a cocky thing to say. I'm not saying I'm good, I just have bigger goals. I think I can be the governor of Arkansas, I think I can be president of the United States if I want. I think I'm representing a lot of people out there who aren't being heard. Reporter: For "Nightline," Maggie Rulli in Los Angeles. Of course you can watch "American idol" live Sunday night, coast-to-coast starting at 8:00 eastern. That's 5:00 in the west here on Up next, the life-changing

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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