The 20-year-old singer announced his plans at a Salt Lake City stop on his Christmas tour, where the audience reacted with cheers of joy.
“It’s not because someone told me that I was supposed to do it, not because ... I no longer want to do music anymore,” a visibly emotional Archuleta said. “But it’s because it’s the feeling that I felt that I need to do next in my life. It’s just the same feeling that I’ve always followed, tried to follow in my life.”
Archuleta — who was named one of the top “Idol” alum earners by Forbes — will begin serving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the first half of 2012, E! reports. It’s not clear where yet. Watch his announcement below.