The very first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, is officially set to return to the big stage for the show’s final season. Currently, American Idol is airing the auditions for its 15th season, and it’s already filled with nostalgia. Past Idols like Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, and Kris Allen have been stepping in for the producers during pre-audition rounds.
What American Idol doesn’t show you is that there are two rounds of auditions before the Idol hopefuls get in front of Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr.
That said, E! reports that the original American Idol Kelly Clarkson is set to return to the show, which was always a question given her busy schedule, and the fact that she’s pregnant with baby number 2. Clarkson is returning to the show not once but twice, and these two episodes of Idol will be very special. It’s not only special because the arguably most successful Idol is returning, but also because of when she’s returning.
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) January 15, 2016
Clarkson will make an appearance on the first live show and will be present in the series finale, where American Idol will say goodbye after more than a decade of being the number one talent search contest. It goes down in the history of other popular shows like Star Search.
Executive producer Trish Kinane broke the news at the TCA’s Winter Press tour.
“We’ve invited her to be part of this season and she’s really happy to be. She will be a guest judge on our first live top 10 show and she’ll also perform.”
— UPROXX (@UPROXX) January 13, 2016
In addition to Clarkson and the other past Idols, other familiar faces are scheduled to appear on the show as it wraps up. “We’re talking to everybody who’s made a huge contribution to the show, and we’d love to have them come back.”
Although it seems like everyone is getting misty eyed over American Idol, there’s one Idol that is trashing the show and that’s Clay Aiken. Aiken can currently be seen on the show, as he and the other Idols oversee some of the contestants before they go to Lopez, Connick Jr., and Urban. Although Aiken seemed tame to the hopeful Idols, the former singer and Broadway actor didn’t hold back when it came to the panel of judges.
In a series of tweets, Aiken blasted the boring comments from judges while giving all the credit to former judge and producer Simon Cowell for keeping the show alive in its prime.
During the premiere Aiken said,
“Well…now I know why the ratings are down.
“Oh good Lord…those boring a** responses from the judges!? Where is Simon Cowell when you need him!? That guy need a hook to pull him off stage,
“It’s VERY clear now that Simon Cowell was the reason American Idol was a hit. I’ve watched root canals more entertaining than these judges.”
As for Clarkson’s appearance on the show, while it’s welcomed, it’s not exactly a huge surprise. In addition, Ryan Seacrest, who’s the only last standing original person on the show, said to All Access that all of the American Idol judges are returning to the show in some capacity.
“I’ve spoken to all of them recently and we as a team have talked to them about coming back to do something for the final season. They are going to do it, it’s just a matter of figuring what to do with them.”
We’re not sure if that means the core original (Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson) or if that also includes additional judges that didn’t quite work out, like Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.
[Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for iHeart Radio]