The American Idol finalists describe the judges’ true personalities.

Morning Brew is read by more than 3 million people; you should too! Simon Cowell, Jennifer Lopez, and Katy Perry are just a few of the famous people that have served as judges for “American Idol” since it debuted in 2002.

For the 20th anniversary of the Fox-ABC program, several former candidates opened up to Insider about what the judges were actually like both on and off camera.


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Richie joined the judging panel in 2018 and has remained there since since “Idol” joined the ABC network.
Seventh-season champion If you’re nervous, “it just means you’re about to do something wonderful,” David Cook claimed Richie told him.

Runner-up for season-16 As a “walking legend” who “exists on a realm of existence that we just don’t grasp as normal people,” Caleb Lee Hutchinson also lauded the well-known musician.

The “Idol” contestant added that discussions with the judge could occasionally take unexpected twists.

He does not ask, “Hey, how are you?” Hutchinson disclosed to Insider. He’ll simply approach you and begin by saying, “The year was 1976, and Michael Jackson wanted a cookie,” before launching into the rest of the tale.

Luke Bryan and Perry were two of the judges from Hutchinson’s season who made a strong effect on him, among others.
Hutchinson stated, “We don’t do brunch or anything, but I have nothing but positive things to say.”

JACKSON IS EXACTLY WHO FANS EXPECT, SUBMITTERS SAY IN THE CONTESTS Jackson became the longest-serving judge in “Idol” history after debuting on the program with Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul in season one. Jackson retained his position on the program for 12 seasons.

Some musicians said that Jackson frequently shared his knowledge as a record producer and offered advice on how to get into the business.

Asciutto described Randy as being “simply always full of enthusiasm,” adding that the judge was continuously encouraging contestants by stating, “You’re in it to win it.”

Jackson always carried himself authentically, according to season nine runner-up Crystal Bowersox.
Bowersox declared, “Randy is who he claims he is, and I just adored him. “I really admire him.”


In his eight-year tenure as a “American Idol” judge, Cowell developed a reputation for giving unforgiving criticism. But for some listeners, that simply increased their fondness for him.

Finalist for season six Melinda Doolittle exclaimed, “Oh, I adore him.” “I think I might have had a crush.”

Doolittle claimed that one reason Cowell was her “favorite judge” was because she believed his criticism of the singers was motivated by his knowledge that they might improve.

At the end of the day, you realize that he was really furious with us because he knew we were better than what we were showing on television, according to Doolittle.

Some contestants, according to Bowersox, “cowered when it got to Simon,” but she wasn’t scared of him.

Because Simon was a person who spoke his thoughts and his truth, Bowersox recalled, “I had a lot of respect for him. “He never minced words; he always spoke things plainly. And although it may not always be what we want to hear, I truly do value that in individuals.”

ONE FINALIST SAID ELLEN DEGENERES WAS “VERY KIND.” Season nine of the competition saw DeGeneres briefly take Abdul’s seat on the judging panel.
Bowersox recalled DeGeneres as “extremely friendly” during her time as a guest judge on the program in 2010.
According to Bowersox of Insider, “She truly didn’t want to be nasty to anyone.” I enjoyed that she always had a pleasant word to say.