We’re one day away from the return of American Idol. In all likelihood, the program will once again premiere to big numbers, but with Ryan Seacrest’s contract up at the end of the year and ratings not what they once were, it’s entirely possible the show may look a bit different come next season. At points in the past, that might have been scary, but given how many times the show has reinvented its judging panel, it’s easy to imagine American Idol once again landing on its feet.

Much like Saturday Night Live, when one judge has left, another has always emerged to carry the weight. For the first few seasons, Simon Cowell was far and away the hardest to win over, but upon his exodus, Randy has become a bit more pointed in his word choice. Likewise, Jennifer Lopez has picked up Paula’s compassion and Steven Tyler has slotted himself nicely into the affable and encouraging role Randy once played. It’s a never ending evolution that provides a variety of viewpoints to both steer the contestants and excite viewers.

Over the course of last season, Steven and Jennifer consistently improved. Each was a bit timid for the early auditions, but as time went on, they opened up and started crafting a consistent persona. It will be interesting to see whether that progression continues into this season or whether we’ll get more of the same. I’d like to think there’s still room for improvement, but by last year’s finale, the three judges were every bit as good as the original panel.

So, the question is, over American Idol’s first ten seasons, who was the best judge? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…

Who Is The Best Idol Judge Ever?

For more questions of the day, head here.

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