Which American Idol Judges Should Return for the Revival?

We ranked all of Idol's judges over its 15-season run

By Tierney Bricker May 09, 2017 5:48 PMTags

Who will  be sitting at American Idol's judges' table?

No, you haven't time-traveled back a few years, when the headlines were dominated by reports of American Idol's rotating list of judges. ABC announced on Tuesday that they are officially bringing  the show back from the dead after it ended its 15-season run on Fox last year. But the network has yet to announce who will serve as the revival's host and judges when it returns. Let the speculation begin!

The question we have now is whether or not any of American Idol's previous judges will or should return? We decided to rank all of the show's judges since it first premiered in 2002...


Ranking All of American Idol's Judges
Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj

If we forced to watch their grating feud for an entire season, they can share the honor of being the worst together forever. It's only fair.

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen, we love you, but you did not belong here. Stay in ya lane! (Again, we love you!)

Kara Dioguardi

She had insightful critiques, but just never felt quite at home at the Idol table.

Randy Jackson

The original judge is forever in the dog house for defaulting to "pitchy" as a go-to critique no matter the vocal sin and holding onto his catchphrases ("In it to win it!" and "Yo, dawg!")  with the Jaws of Life. DUDE, EVERYONE IS IN IT TO WIN IT. IT'S WHY THEY ARE COMPETING ON THIS SHOW. 

Steven Tyler

Sure, the Aerosmith rocker was fun, but so is cotton candy. Do you get any real nutritional value from it in the end?

Keith Urban

He was just so into the music and so nice. But almost too nice? Still, he gets major bonus points for soldiering on during the Mariah-Nicki debacle. Lesser man could never.

Harry Connick Jr.

Your mom's favorite singer/Will & Grace guest star became a national treasure when he joined the panel in season 13. He was effortlessly charming and brought a lightness to the panel, but was still knowledgeable and insightful with the contestants. 

Paula Abdul

Between all of her moments of wackiness and verbal sparring with Simon Cowell, her heart truly was always with the contestants first. She was endearing, even when she  wasn't making total sense.

Jennifer Lopez

Controversial to put JLo ahead of Abdul? Sure, but there's no denying that she revitalized the Idol brand when she joined in season 10. She also managed to turn the tapings into her personal runway shows, giving us "goosies" (her adorable go-to when a performance gave her chills) with her showstopping looks each week. She didn't just put on a show, she was The Show.

Simon Cowell

We don't mean to be rude, but…come on, was there ever any doubt as to which judge would top this list? When American Idol first debuted in 2002, Cowell changed television forever, thanks to his no-holds-barred critiques, biting one-liners and unapologetic Cowell-ness. We loved him. We hated him. We hated to love him. We loved to hate him. We couldn't stop watching him.

Do you think any of American Idol's former judges should return or would you like to see an all-new line-up? Sound off in the comments!