• Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

American Idol could've looked VERY different back in the day if the producers went with their original choices for the judges' panel. Host extraordinaire Ryan Seacrest reveals in a new behind-the-scenes interview about the history of the long-running reality singing competition that he was initially approached to be the show's third judge, rather than the iconic host we know him as.

In the clip above, watch a bearded 'Crest reminisce about the good old days of season one—and spill exactly how he became a part of the show.

As producers set out to recreate the success of Britain's Pop Idol for an American audience, they decided to bring the U.K. version's four-person judges' table down to three, settling on Pop Idol's Simon Cowell and actual pop idol Paula Abdul as the first two judges. But it was when they were searching for the third panelist that they found Seacrest.

Ryan Seacrest

Michael Becker / FOX

The one problem—he wasn't sure he wanted to do it. Instead, he asked whether they'd chosen a host yet, because that was his ideal role. "I said to him, ‘Who's the host?' They said, ‘Well we've already got a host, but we could audition you to be the cohost,'" Seacrest says.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how history was made. And is a fateful moment that Randy Jackson has probably praised and poor ol' Brian Dunkleman has likely cursed ever since. Check out the rest of Seacrest's Idol origin story above.

American Idol's 15th and final season premieres Wednesday, January 6 at 8 p.m. on Fox.