Paula Abdul appeared on the Jan. 13 episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen and was asked about the rebooted American Idol series on ABC. Admittedly, Paula hasn’t been watching the revamped series, and wasn’t able to name one person who’s won the show in the past three seasons that its been on. However, she had nothing but great things to say about the judges and the series in general.
“There was nothing like the original cast,” Paula admitted. “It was such an incredible show and changed the trajectory of everyone’s life and careers and television. I get that. I just haven’t had time to catch up. But I love Katy [Perry], I love Luke [Bryan] and I love Lionel [Richie].” Katy, Luke and Lionel have been judges on all three seasons of the reboot, and will return for a fourth when American Idol comes back in Feb. 2021.
Meanwhile, Paula was one of the original American Idol judges alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson. She left the show in 2009 after eight seasons. For season 9, Paula was replaced by Ellen DeGeneres, and said on WWHL that she was totally fine with that casting decision. “I was ready to leave, so I had already made peace with that,” Paula explained. “I thought Ellen would be great. I really did. Her perspective was just as a fan, or a regular person in the audience watching, and I thought she did a good job.”
After Paula’s departure, Simon wound up leaving the show one season later. Randy was joined by Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler for seasons 10 and 11. For season 12, Randy’s final season, he sat alongside Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban on the judges’ panel. J.Lo returned for season 13, along with Keith and Harry Connick Jr. They stayed as judges through season 15 in 2015, which was the last of the show’s original run.
American Idol was only off the air for three years, though, before it returned in 2018 after being picked up by ABC. For the record, the three winners of the reboot have been: Maddie Poppe, Laine Hardy and Just Sam. Season 19 of American Idol premieres on Feb. 14 on ABC.