Just a little more than a year after the reality singing competition sang its last goodbye, it's been announced that American Idol is officially returning in 2018. This time around, it'll be on ABC instead of Fox. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, said, “American Idol on ABC... that has a nice ring to it," explaining the show is "an entertainment icon" that fits perfectly alongside his network's lineup of other reality show favorites like Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor. "America," he said, "get ready for the return of a bigger, bolder and better-than-ever Idol.” It's a bold statement that should leave fans wondering, who will be the judges of this new American Idol?
In its 15 seasons, the show introduced fans to incredible talent, like the OG Idol Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, along with those that didn't win the competition but still won our hearts, like Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, and Chris Daughtry. But it's the judges that stayed consistent — well, fairly, consistent — throughout the show's run.
It started with the original judges. There was the nice one, Paula Abdul; the producer/musician Randy Jackson; and the man we loved to hate, Simon Cowell. For nearly nine seasons, all three of them came into our homes each and every week to help us choose the next American Idol.
In Season 8, a fourth judge joined the panel, songwriter Kara DioGuardi, who only stuck around for two seasons. The following season, Abdul left the show to be replaced by Ellen DeGeneres, who only stuck around for that single season. Cowell said goodbye in Season 10, and Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez joined the show. The two only stayed for two seasons before being replaced by three new judges: Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban, who sat alongside Jackson. He would eventually leave after Season 12 to become a mentor, and Urban was the only new judge who returned since Carey and Minaj didn't get along so well. For the final two seasons of the show, Lopez would return and Harry Connick, Jr. would join the team for the final run.
According to CNN, the American Idol judges and host won't be announced until a later time, possibly next week, which means it's still a mystery whether any familiar faces will be joining the panel. Safe to say, though, that neither Carey or Minaj will be returning for another round. Not to mention that it may be hard for Lopez to balance Idol with her new dance competition World Of Dance.
This, however, does give fans time to start assembling their dream judges panel. Perhaps, they'll get a former contestant or winner to help find the next American Idol? Clarkson did host a short-lived singing series called Duets on the network back in 2012, so it's clear they have her number. Personally, I think they should use it.