Are Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson Returning To ‘American Idol’?

American Idol launched its first season back in 2002. No one will ever forget the series’ first winner, Kelly Clarkson who went on to have a legendary career as a pop-crossover diva. Since then, the show has gone through many iterations and reinventions. The show has had a history of swapping judges out over the years, though it appears that OG fans believe that the original panel was the most iconic. Recently, rumors have been circulating that several of the original judges may be coming back to the show. Is Idol planning to boot Luke, Katy, and Lionel? Are Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul coming to take back their seats? Read on to get the details.

American Idol – 20 Years Of Greatness

As we previously mentioned, the first episode of American Idol aired all the way back in 2002. It was the iconic pioneer of live talent competitions. Over the years, the show would give birth to numerous music superstars and pop-culture icons from genres across the board. From Kelly Clarkson to Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, and Scotty McCreery, the show is known for launching the careers of many millennials’ favorite artists through the years.

Photo Credit: ABC

When the show originally aired, the three judges on the panel were Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell. The three celebrity judges lasted nearly a decade before Simon and Paula left the show. Randy Jackson would stay on board for several more years before leaving the show in 2013.

In the following seasons, judges would rotate in and out regularly. Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban both did a several-season stint on the panel as well as Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi. Before Luke, KP and Lionel would take over, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, pop diva Mariah Carrey and modern crooner Harry Connick Jr. would all take a turn on the panel as well.

Will Randy Jackson And Paula Abdul Return To The Judges’ Table?

Now, a few weeks into the current 2022 season of Idol, the series getting ready to celebrate a special milestone in the show’s history. This year marks the 20th season of American Idol – and in addition to a special commemorative episode, rumor has it that showrunners are bringing more than nostalgia to the screen.

According to ETthe show had originally announced plans to air a pre-recorded episode on May 2nd in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary. Press for the show indicated at least a dozen former AI contestants would be returning and performing duets.

Additionally, it has also been confirmed that both Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul will both be making an appearance on the anniversary show as well. Photos released from the filming of the episode show the former American Idol judges seated alongside their modern replacements.

Photo Credit: FOX

Will Simon Cowell Be Returning Too?

As of right now, the answer is no. All press associated with the reunion episode (officially called ‘The Great Idol Reunion’) indicates that Simon Cowell did not participate in the reunion special. Both Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson have appeared on the show since they left nearly a decade ago – this, however, is not the case with Cowell.

Cowell left the show in 2010 – and went on to create a competing talent show – X-FactorYears later, sources would reveal that Cowell and Idol‘s creator, Simon Fuller had a major dispute regarding the similarities between Idol and the show Cowell would go on to create after he left the franchise.

Based on the friction surrounding Simon’s exit from the show, it’s unlikely that he will ever return to the series. Long-time fans will have to be content living out their memories with Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and several fan-favorite American Idol alums. The reunion episode is set to air on May 2nd.

Will you be watching the 20th Anniversary episode of American Idol? Who was your favorite past contestant? Tell us in the comments!

Nikki Desrosiers

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