The three judges looked better than ever on the show, praising Clarkson for her contribution to making the competition series such a success.
“I actually, genuinely do not believe that we would have been sitting here today if you hadn’t entered the show,” Cowell expressed. “We had to find a star who was going to sell records.”
Cowell also noted that he initially had very low expectations for the show.
“I really thought it would last about two weeks and we’d get thrown off the air,” he said.
Clarkson, who was named the first winner of Idol in 2002, shared that when she auditioned for the show, she wasn’t even aware it was a TV program.
“When I walked in, I’ll tell you, I knew nothing,” she admitted. “I didn’t know it was a TV show until I walked into the audition and was in front of y’all. I was like, ‘Paula Abdul’s here. Some Simon dude, some English dude.’”
Clarkson also asked the panel whether they ever got into an argument that there was no coming back from.
“Every hour?” Cowell quipped.
“A lot of them,” Jackson admitted.
“Don’t even start with me,” Abdul warned Cowell.
“It wasn’t my fault, you kept quitting!” Cowell claimed to Abdul.
But despite all the drama, Cowell, who has gone on to have success on The X-Factor, America’s Got Talent, and more, admitted that he’d do it all over again.
“If I’m being honest with you, this does make me think, if I had one wish, it would be to make another show with us again,” he said to Abdul and Jackson. “I’ll tell you why because apart from the fact that we had so much fun and like I said, to credit you, Kelly, we wouldn’t be here without you, the fact that you are one of the most successful singers in the world. Unlike the majority, you are the same person off-camera as you are on camera.”
He also praised his onscreen adversary, Abdul, noting, “Paula actually was a brilliant spotter of talent,” adding, “Our legacy, genuinely, are the artists who we discovered over this seven-year period.”
Clarkson also brought out her season’s runner-up, Justin Guarini, who opened up about his career in commercials and on Broadway following the show.