Kelly Clarkson confirms she won’t be joining ‘American Idol’ after Katy Perry exit: ‘I can’t’

Kelly Clarkson confirms she won’t be joining ‘American Idol’ after Katy Perry exit: ‘I can’t’


She may be the original “American Idol,” but Kelly Clarkson isn’t taking a seat at the judges’ table any time soon.

While attending the 2024 Daytime Emmy Awards on Friday, Clarkson – who won the first season of the singing competition series in 2002 – spoke about the possibility of joining the ABC reality-show following judge Katy Perry’s recent exit.

“No. No. I can’t do that, only because I promised my kids. I was like, ‘I want to be there as much as I possibly can,’ ” Clarkson told Entertainment Tonight at the event. “And it would put me in LA, and that’s why I had to quit ‘The Voice,’ which I love that team. And I miss them so much.”

“The Kelly Clarkson Show” host, who recently relocated her talk show to New York City, told USA TODAY in October 2023 that she’s learned to not spread herself so thin, which led to her departure from NBC’s “The Voice” after the show’s 23rd season.

“I’ve learned a lot about what I’m capable of handling, and also what you should not handle,” Clarkson said at the time. “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.'”

Clarkson doubled down on the importance of this work-life balance for her family while speaking to ET over the weekend.

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

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The Season 22 finale of “American Idol” last month marked the end of Perry’s six-year run on the show. Perry announced in February that she was leaving her position as a judge on the iconic singing competition to “go and see the world and maybe bring new music.”

Perry’s co-judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan have thrown out names of Perry’s possible replacements throughout the season, including Meghan Trainor and Jelly Roll but the truth is — as far as the fans are concerned — no one has been chosen for the job yet.

But the ABC veterans have an idea of what characteristics their new colleague should have.

“There’s a lot of artists out there that can sing, but to join a very successful team you’ve got to be confident of your space. You know who you are, and you’ll last forever here,” Richie said in May after the finale taping. “It’s got to be somebody that identifies with the young culture.”

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Perry didn’t shy away from talking about the person who’ll be taking her job.

“The qualities I hope for are someone that is honest,” Perry said. “Someone that is constructive with their words. Someone that is leading with their heart – heart-centered and less ego – and isn’t afraid to speak their mind and isn’t afraid if sometimes that’s polarizing, isn’t afraid of negative comments, isn’t afraid of getting booed just as long as they are speaking their mind and true to themselves.”

Contributing: Patrick Ryan and KiMi Robinson, USA TODAY

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