Original ‘American Idol’ Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson Reunite on Kelly Clarkson’s Talk Show

The band is back together! Original American Idol judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson reunited with season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson on The Kelly Clarkson Show on Wednesday, September 18.

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“It’s been 17 years, y’all. I would’ve never thought that show would’ve had the impact that it [did],” the “Miss Independent” singer, 37, said. “I mean, look at what it did. The domino effect, like, was crazy!”

Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell on The Kelly Clarkson Show
Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kelly Clarkson on ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show.’ Adam Torgerson/NBCUniversal

Cowell, 59, Abdul, 57, and Jackson, 63, then thanked Clarkson for helping to make the singing competition a success from the very beginning.

“The whole premise of this show was: We had to find a star who was going to sell records — and we found some great people that whole year — but when you delivered that moment on that first live show and when you sang that winning song at the end, it was a game-changer,” the America’s Got Talent creator raved.

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The talk show host, for her part, pointed out that she, runner-up Justin Guarini and third-place finisher Nikki McKibbin had no idea that Idol had even become such a hit at the time “because we were all in that bubble.” She also admitted that she “knew nothing” about Cowell when she tried out.

“I didn’t know it was a TV show until the audition [where] I was in front of y’all,” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Paula Abdul’s here. Some Simon dude, like, he’s some English dude.’ I also did recognize Randy because I knew he had played with Mariah [Carey]. I was like, ‘Aw, snap!’”

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Jackson, of course, did not know Clarkson either at the time — but he saw her potential right away.

“On that day, when [you] auditioned, I knew you were gonna win,” he said, much to Cowell and Abdul’s surprise.

Abdul, Cowell and Jackson left Idol after seasons 9, 10 and 13, respectively. The show moved from Fox to ABC in 2018 with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

The Kelly Clarkson Show airs weekdays. Check local listings.

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