Tyler, who was a judge during the show's tenth and eleventh seasons, appeared in front of the current panel during Thursday night's (January 31) broadcast.
Sporting a grey animal-print dress and long blonde wig, he introduced himself as "Pepper LaBeija from the House of LaBeija", a reference to the late Harlem drag artist of the same name.
Although Tyler was quickly rumbled by judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Keith Urban, they joked that given he had shown up, he would have to sing for them.
"Do I go through to Hollywood, or what?" he asked, to which Urban replied: "You have to sing! You have to sing."
Instead, Tyler said: "I just wanted to come by and say hello to everybody... I tried so hard, [but] no Hollywood."
[Steven Tyler with Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson on 'American Idol']
"Hey, I think Boston is in your future," quipped Jackson, as the Aerosmith frontman mooned the judges during his exit from the stage.
Tyler, whose stronger language was often the subject of jokes from colleagues during his Idol tenure, was also bleeped out during his two-minute appearance.
American Idol airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox in the US. The show airs on Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm on 5* in the UK.
Watch Steven Tyler 'auditioning' for American Idol below: