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Why Kelly Clarkson Won’t Replace Katy Perry as American Idol Judge

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Kelly Clarkson
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

Kelly Clarkson revealed why she can’t take over for Katy Perry as a judge on American Idol. The very first Idol winner won’t take on a judge’s chair because it would pull her away from New York City and her children.

“I can’t do that, only because I promised my kids,” Clarkson told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published on Saturday, June 8. “I was like, ‘I wanna be there as much as I possibly can.’ And it would put me in L.A., and that’s why I had to quit The Voice, which I love that team. And I miss them so much.”

Clarkson was a coach on The Voice for seasons 14 to 21 and returned for a one-off run in season 23. Clarkson said in 2023 that much of her time on The Voice had been tainted by her relationship drama with ex-husband Brandon Blackstock.

“Full disclosure, I put on a smile a lot of those times because I was struggling a lot in my personal life,” Clarkson confessed in October last year. “I’ve learned a lot about what I’m capable of handling, and also what you should not handle. That was me saying ‘bye’ to The Voice and having this big move. I love that family, but I was like, ‘I’m struggling. I can’t smile anymore. I don’t feel like smiling.’”

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Speaking to ET on Saturday, Clarkson elaborated on her decision to move not only her children but her talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, to New York.

“I wanted a life for us. And we enjoy the park every day and we enjoy each other,” she told ET. “As a parent — people get this — you only get so much time until they don’t want to hang out with you.” She added, “That’s the reason (I can’t do Idol). It’s my kiddos.”

A replacement for Perry on American Idol has not yet been announced. The “Roar” singer, who has been with the reality competition show since 2018, revealed her departure from Idol in February.

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American Idol paved the way for reality competition shows to help everyday people achieve their dreams of music stardom. The series premiered in 2002 on Fox with a star-studded judging panel consisting of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. American Idol‘s freshman season introduced Kelly Clarkson, who would become the show’s first breakout star. (…)

“I think this probably will be my last show, my last season for Idol,” she said. “I mean, I love Idol so much. It’s connected me with, like, the heart of America, but I feel like I need to go out and feel that pulse to my own beat, you what I’m saying?”

“I love the show so much,” she added. “But I wanna go and see the world and maybe bring new music. Maybe I’ll come back if they’ll have me one day.”

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