Original 'American Idol' Judges Reunite to Honor Kelly Clarkson

By Hanan Redwan Published on September 20, 2022
Original 'American Idol' Judges Reunite to Honor Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson’s American Idol family came out in full force to support the singer and talk show host at her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony Monday. The original judging panel -- Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and – Paula Abdul were on hand to help pay tribute to Clarkson.

The trio posed for photos with Clarkson as she proudly displayed her star and cemented her place in Hollywood history.

Cowell spoke at the ceremony, praising Clarkson and the career she's had since winning the singing competition during its inaugural season.

"We were just talking about the moment when you sang 'Respect,' and we all looked at each other, and it was like, 'Oh. My. God. Thank you.' And then, I went up to you, afterwards, because obviously, I was thinking, 'I think you're gonna win this show,' and I said, 'I just wanna say, that was amazing, Kelly, and I'm here,' and you turned around to me and said, 'Simon, without being rude, I would rather we didn't talk until the end of the series,' and I'm like, 'Wow, what does that mean?' It means, stay away from me, I know what I'm doing,'" Cowell recalled of Clarkson's time on .American Idol

Clarkson cleared the air, telling the longtime judge that she didn't want it to appear that she was getting any special treatment from the judges and she also didn't want Cowell -- long known for his tough critique on the show -- to get in her head either.

"What was amazing from that moment was, is that you're not messing around. You're gonna take this opportunity, and you're gonna get all the way to the end, and then when you get to the end, it's just beginning," he continued. "And I remember that moment when your name was called and I was -- I was honestly thinking to myself, 'Thanks to you, we may have another season.' I can honestly say to you, 'Thanks to you, I'm here today.'"

Cowell continued to thank Clarkson for not only assisting in his career but in the success of American Idol, which has gone on to boast eighteen seasons since its inception in 2002.

"I said that, because you validated what we did, because if we didn't find a star, there's no point in doing these shows. " the former American Idol judge shared. "And I could never predict what was gonna happen then, and I remember sitting there talking to the record label at the time, I said, 'I don't think you realize who you signed here, this girl has steel in her eyes.'"

Cowell continued, "I always say if someone knows their lane, you're gonna be a star, if you got the talent. And Kelly has always known her lane."

Clarkson's family also joined her for the ceremony, with her mother, her daughter, River, 8 and son, Remington, 6, also by her side. 

As far as how she felt about receiving the honor, Clarkson told the crowd that she was happy to have had the trio of judges, and her team around her, to tell her the honest truth over the last 20 years.

"From the beginning, with Idol, all three of you were very honest with me...I just wanted to say thank you, to be surrounded -- even my band on the road, my family, like last night, we're listening to my new album and telling me what they love, what they don't love -- and I have people like that, and I think it's important to have not just 'yes' people, but people that actually love you, and care about you and give their honest advice, and I've always welcomed that," Clarkson said. "And I think that is why I'm here today. Not just because of myself, but because of having constantly teams of people that love you and support you, and really want to make your dreams come true while making their dreams come true."

Sources spoke to Clarkson at the ceremony Monday, where she marveled at her place in Hollywood history, and along the Walk of Fame.

"It's incredible," Clarkson gushed. "I mean, you've seen these pictures since you were a kid, right? With all these major people that influenced you, artistically, in your life, and it's cool to be apart of that, and especially right in front of where I won 20 years ago."

Clarkson was placed right in-between the stars for Harry Potter and Deadpool, a spot that she said "could not be better representations" of her personality: "magic and sarcasm."

Hanan Redwan

Hanan Redwan

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