After getting eliminated back in March -- on what was also his 28th birthday -- Murphy didn't even make it to the season's Top 24. Which makes his invite to perform in the finale a real recognition of how much fans loved his songs (and didn't agree with the judges' decision to cut him from the competition).
Taking the stage with his guitar and his gentle smile, Murphy performed a lovely original tune, "The Painted Man," which was brimming with the heartfelt folk sensibilities and delicate vocals that made him a fan favorite to begin with.
After his number, Murphy softly and sweetly thanked everyone watching, and shared, "It's so good to see you all again."
Meanwhile, Murphy's vocal fans were more than thrilled to hear him again and to see him perform during the finale.
Painted Man! Love, love this song!! Murphy is the real talent. He is too good for American Idol!!
Ahead of Murphy's performance, host Ryan Seacrest addressed the backlash surrounding his elimination.
"Each year we scour the nation for the most unique talent out there. And this season, we came across one of the most memorable artists to date -- Murphy. His elimination was controversial and nearly broke the Twitterverse," Seacrest shared. "His early elimination sent shockwaves out. Fans voiced their outrage online, calling the decision one of the biggest errors in Idol history."
Seacrest asked the judges outright, "who is to blame," and each of the judges tried to shift responsibility. Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan pointed fingers at Katy Perry, who, in turn, told Bryan, "I will cut you! How dare you throw me under the bus."
Seacrest explained that they invited him back because they "had to make it right for one of our most-talked-about talents this season."
Check out the video below for more on this season of American Idol.