American Idol has made a lot of people stars over the years, whether for their impressive skills (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood) or their lack of it (“She-bangs,” anyone?)

But another important part of the reality show has been the judges: Paula Abdul’s over-the-top support, Randy Jackson’s technical advice, and of course Simon Cowell’s cutting sarcasm.

And so it’s fitting that in its last year on television, American Idol will bring back all of its former judges for a last hurrah.

“I’ve spoken to all recently and we as a team have talked to them about coming back to do something for the final season,” Ryan Seacrest told Access Hollywood. “They are going to do it, it’s just a matter of figuring what do with them.”


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The long-running Fox reality show that attempted to make people musical stars was famed and mocked alternatively when it was a cultural phenomenon in the early 2000s. A “who’s-who” of musical and Hollywood talent have passed through as judges, including comedian Ellen DeGeneres and singers Mariah Carey and Steven Tyler.

But after Abdul and Cowell left, other judges were seen as pale imitations of the trio that had propelled the show to its lofty heights. The current judges-Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban-are preparing to hear the contestants sing for Hollywood Week.

And while today viewers still have shows like The Voice and The X-Factor to fill their competitive needs, those shows still owe a debt of gratitude to the original show that gave ordinary singers hope that they might find singing success and stardom.

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