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Kelly Clarkson Reunited With The Original Judges Who Helped Her Make History On American Idol, But It Almost Didn’t Happen

Kelly Clarkson is shown with her star on the Walk of Fame.
(Image credit: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Big things are happening for Kelly Clarkson at this moment in her life. The fourth season of her daytime talk show premiered in the coveted time slot previously held by Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres, and the multihyphenate just received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. To celebrate her achievement, she reunited with some important figures from her past — Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, the three judges from American Idol who helped skyrocket her to fame. The reunion, however, was close to being incomplete.

Paula Abdul apparently had to change her flight plans late in the game in order to be at the ceremony — and People reports that she arrived during Simon Cowell’s speech. Two decades after Kelly Clarkson won the first season of American Idol, the “Straight Up” singer said there was no way she was missing a moment like this. Abdul told the honoree: 

I'm so proud to be here, honored. I changed my flight just so I could be here. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Kelly — not only the trajectory of your life has changed, but you helped change the trajectory of everyone's lives.

It’s so fitting that Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul were all there to mark the OG champ's huge milestone, and thank goodness the latter superstar was able to make it happen. Just as the trio provided Kelly Clarkson the nationally televised platform to show what she had to offer the world of entertainment, the singer changed the course of the judges’ lives as well. Check them out together once more!

Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul stand with Kelly Clarkson by her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

(Image credit: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Even the famously crotchety Cowell echoed Abdul’s sentiments, pointing out that Clarkson was also to thank for American Idol’s longevity. He recalled the moment she was announced as the winner, saying (via EW): 

I remember that moment when your name was called and I was thinking to myself, 'Thanks to you, we may have another season.' I can honestly say to you, thanks to you, I'm here today… because you validated what we did. If we didn't find a star, there's no point in doing these shows.

He said it wasn’t just her voice, but her bubbly personality that attracted the judges (and America) to her — no doubt how she’s gone on to dominate daytime TV with the five-time Emmy-winning The Kelly Clarkson Show. Simon Cowell said: 

I've got to be honest with you, I didn't realize at that point, honestly, how good you were. I just liked you. And I was so thankful. And then there was the moment you sang 'Respect'… and we all looked at each other like, 'Oh. My. God. Thank you.'

Do you think that’s why Kelly Clarkson says, “You’re welcome” so often? Hmmm, maybe Simon Cowell had even more of an impact than any of us realized!  

Simon Cowell and Kelly Clarkson at Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony

(Image credit: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

There’s no denying that the talk show host has made her mark in the industry. As well as her multiple Emmy Awards, she’s won three Grammys from her nine studio albums, had 11 top-10 singles on the Hot 100 chart, has been in movies, found success as a coach on The Voice and co-hosted American Song Contest. All of that is on top of raising two kids as a single mom, and somehow she’s still relatable enough to shop at Target like the rest of us. 

The newest Walk of Fame honoree took to Instagram to mark the occassion and pointed out the amazing placement of her star — “between Harry Potter and Deadpool ….I dare anyone to top that!” — and not only do we agree that location is hard to beat, she just continues to show how adorable she is and why her fans love her so much.

You can continue to catch the OG Idol champ on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings to see when and where it airs in your area. Also be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what fall premieres are coming soon! 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.