Back in 2002, Kelly Clarkson won the first-ever season of American Idol, kicking off her incredibly successful career. On Wednesday (Sept. 18), she reunited with OG judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson on her new talk show.
“17 years ago, I would have never thought that show would have had the impact—look at what it did! The domino effect is crazy,” Clarkson told her former judges.
“I actually genuinely do not believe we would be sitting here today if you hadn’t entered the show,” Cowell sweetly replied.
The trio then reminisced on Clarkson’s audition, where she sang “Express Yourself” by Madonna, and turned the tables by sitting in the judge’s chair while Jackson auditioned. “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!’”
Abdul, Cowell and Jackson left the show after seasons 9, 10 and 13, respectively. Other judges who took on the role throughout the series included Steven Tyler, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Ellen DeGeneres and Harry Connick, Jr. Idol took a brief break in 2016, and moved from Fox to ABC in 2018 with new judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
Watch the reunion below.