Kelly Clarkson Speaks Out About Possibly Joining 'American Idol' as a Judge

"I can't do that"

kelly clarkson american idol
Getty Images

Kelly Clarkson will go down in history as the powerhouse singer and multi-hyphenate who became the nation's first-ever "American Idol," but that doesn't mean she's ready to move on to the judging panel.

When Katy Perry announced her exit from American Idol in February, Clarkson's name was among the first to come up as a potential replacement. However, while attending the 2024 Daytime Emmy Awards last week, the 42-year-old singer and TV personality confirmed that she will not take Perry’s place as a judge because she wants to focus on her family. She told ET, "No. No. I can't do that, only because I promised my kids. I was like, 'I wanna be there as much as I possibly can.'"

Clarkson continued, "I wanted a life for us. And we enjoy the park every day and we enjoy each other. 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."

The singer also mentioned that she had to leave The Voice for similar reasons, adding, "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."

In case you need a refresher, Clarkson previously served as a coach on The Voice from seasons 14 to 21, then returned for season 23. After her departure, she got candid about why she left and told ET, "I put on a smile a lot of those times because I was struggling a lot in my personal life. 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." 

Although Clarkson won't be joining Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan behind the panel in season 23, the co-judges already have an idea of what they're looking for in a third judge.

american idol judges
Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Richie told USA Today, "You've got to bring your character. Be who you are. Katy's Katy. It's like singing a Whitney Houston song. Don't try to sing it like Whitney; interpret it… There's a lot of artists out there that can sing, but to join a very successful team, you've gotta be confident of your space. You know who you are and you'll last forever here. It's got to be somebody that identifies with the young culture."

So far, the judges have mentioned Meghan Trainor and Jelly Roll as potential replacements, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Until then, we'll keep our ears open for updates.

Want all the latest celebrity news sent right to your inbox? Subscribe here.

nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...