American Idol is the OG of singing competition reality TV. It’s brought families and friends together on the couch to laugh and cry and maybe even both at the same time, since 2002. The series ran for 15 [successful] seasons on Fox and after being off the air for two years it was picked up by ABC for a revival. Ryan Seacrest has stayed loyal to the brand, still hosting since Kelly Clarkson’s season. However, the judging panel has been a revolving door since the three original judges moved onto new things.
The trio, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell were together for eight seasons of the show. The music manager, choreographer and music executive made a solid team for delivering both advice and entertainment. However, Paula exited ahead of season 9. Cowell left ahead of season 10. And Jackson left after season 12. Take a look at all of the American Idol judges through the years and why they left the show.