If Ed Sheeran took some time to relax after winning a copyright trial where he was accused of stealing parts of Marvin Gaye’s hit “Let’s Get It On” for his Grammy Award-winning song “Thinking Out Loud,” the time was remarkably brief.

Two days after the trial, Sheeran kicked off the U.S. leg of his 2023 tour in Dallas, Texas. And the next night, the singer-songwriter took the stage of “American Idol” to perform his new single, “Eyes Closed,” for the show’s millions of viewers.

Related
‘I am just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music’: Ed Sheeran speaks out after winning copyright trial
‘American Idol’ reveals the top 5 singers

Ed Sheeran performs ‘Eyes Closed’ on ‘American Idol’

The song stems from Sheeran’s new album, “Subtract,” which he released May 5. “Eyes Closed” was inspired by the loss of Sheeran’s best friend, Jamal Edwards, who died last year at the age of 31 from cardiac arrest, Billboard reported.

This song is about losing someone, feeling like every time you go out and you expect to just bump into them, and every thing just reminds you of them and things you did together, Sheeran wrote in a post on <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CpzcQeqoR1e/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=20abe1e9-1a95-426c-a74d-1cca4d5a6a9b">Instagram</a>. You sorta have to take yourself out of reality sometimes to numb the pain of loss, but certain things just bring you right back into it. Blue was Jamal’s colour, but now is all I feel. And I guess music helps heal, so I’m dancing with my eyes closed to try get through it.

“Subtract,” a more vulnerable, stripped-down record, marks a vastly different album than the one Sheeran initially planned to release. The changes came as Sheeran went through a number of trials, including his friend’s death and his wife being diagnosed with cancer.

“And then I went into this, like, really, really public high-profile court case where you’re being sort of shouted at every day and called a liar and a thief and stuff,” the 32-year-old musician told CBS News. “So, I’d written about, you know, the fear, or depression, or anxiety, or all of these things that had been encapsulated in that time, were what the songs ended up being about.

“I had to kind of get my head ’round scrapping 10 years of work to replace it with, like, a month’s worth of work.”

The album has received high praise, with a review from The Guardian calling it “easily his best ever album.”

In addition to performing his new song on “Idol,” Sheeran, along with Alanis Morissette, filled in as a guest judge for longtime “Idol” judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, who were performing at King Charles III’s coronation concert Sunday night.

A miniseries that chronicles Sheeran’s rise to fame and his recent challenges and triumphs is available for streaming on Disney+.

Related
Utah singer on the ups and downs of ‘American Idol’
Who dropped out of ‘American Idol’? The mystery has been solved

Who is in the ‘American Idol’ top 5 2023?

As the Deseret News reported, the top five singers on “American Idol” are:

  • Iam Tongi.
  • Megan Danielle.
  • Colin Stough.
  • We Ani.
  • Zachariah Smith.

“American Idol” resumes May 14 — airing 6 p.m. MDT on ABC — with a Disney-themed episode. During the episode, the show will narrow the competition down to a top three.