Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nigel Lythgoe Reflect on American Idol Ending

Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell weighed in on the end of American Idol Eamonn McCormack/

UPDATE: Fellow former judge Paula Abdul and ex-Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe have weighed in on the show's imminent ending, too. In a statement to Extra, Abdul said she was "fortunate" to have been one of the original judges but noted that the series changed after she left.

"I left the show at the top. After I left, my presence, it felt different, and then a year later Simon left, and it feels different, and many years later Randy left," she told the site. "But the judges are fantastic, they're brilliant at what they do and they're fun to watch. The chemistry between J.Lo and Harry and Keith, they're wonderful, but I think that [at] a certain point maybe everything comes to a close. Maybe it's run its course, but it's a show that changed people's lives, changed my life too. Really legitimate super stars came out of the show, and people's dreams have come true and they’re living it."

Lythgoe, for his part, praised the show as "socially impactful" and compared it to a "prize fighter" who gave "knockout blows." He also said he hoped for a return to form, telling Extra, "They've stated they're going to do this incredible American Idol experience across the year, so I'm hoping they're gonna bring back the judges, I'm hoping they’re gonna bring back together all the American Idols and I'm hoping they’re gonna re-instate the executive producers."

ORIGINAL STORY: Changed his tune! Simon Cowell was notoriously sour as one of the three inaugural judges of American Idol, but as news of the show's ending broke on Monday, May 11, he looked back fondly.

Cowell, 55, took to Twitter on Monday evening to weigh in after Fox announced that Idol's upcoming 15th season will be its last. The British reality star sat behind the desk on the competition show for nine seasons, kicking off his run in 2002 alongside Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul.

"Looking back at my time on American Idol we had a great time," Cowell wrote. "We found great artists. Had fun. And to America. Thank you. It was a blast." 

When he left the show in 2010, Cowell found a new home in The X Factor's judging table. He helped bring the UK series stateside just one year after One Direction was formed on the British iteration. 

Jackson, 58, who had the longest run of the three original judges, also gave his two cents on the end of American Idol

simon, randy, and paula on american idol in 2004
Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell on "American Idol" in 2004 Ray Mickshaw/

"One of greatest talent shows ever. Gave us all huge careers and birthed sooooo many stars of today. #idol," he tweeted. "Many have tried to imitate it but there will never be anything like #idol Thanks fans & talent Yall made it possible. Lets b bout the future." 

The future of Idol lies in one final to-be-determined winner, who will follow in the footsteps of past champions including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, and Phillip Phillips. The 15th and last season of the long-running show will kick off in January 2016, promising to "pay tribute to the past 14 seasons of amazingly talented contestants and the millions of fans who tweeted, texted and championed their Idols."

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