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The Reason Kelly Clarkson Won't Replace Katy Perry On American Idol Is Heartwarming

The newest version of "American Idol" is one of the most expensive TV reboots in history, and part of that shake-up entailed bringing on some fresh faces to serve as the judges, including Katy Perry. A permanent judge on the show since 2018, Perry stated in May 2024 that she was leaving the reality singing competition to focus on her own music career. Now the question is who will replace her, and while fans would love to see the first-ever "American Idol" winner, Kelly Clarkson, take the spot, she's already bowing out of the job. 

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight about potentially making the leap to "American Idol" judge, Clarkson shot the idea down for the most charming reason. "No, no. I can't do that, only because I promised my kids," she stated. "I was like, 'I wanna be there as much as I possibly can.'" Since "American Idol" is filmed in Los Angeles, while Clarkson is based out of New York, it seems that she doesn't want to upend her children's lives or spend any more time away from them than necessary — which any parent will agree totally makes sense.

Clarkson is plenty busy these days hosting her own daytime talk show, plus this scenario already played out for her before, when she left "The Voice" after several seasons as a coach: "That's why I had to quit 'The Voice,' which I love that team. And I miss them so much."

Meghan Trainor is interested in the American Idol gig

Kelly Clarkson has two children — Remington, who was born in 2016, as well as River Rose, who was born in 2014 — and told Entertainment Tonight she doesn't want to miss out on their crucial years of development: "As a parent — people get this — you only get so much time until they don't want to hang out with you," she said. But while Clarkson replacing Katy Perry no longer seems possible, there's no shortage of people in the music industry who would love to get the job. 

There seem to be quite a few names in contention. "American Idol" host Luke Bryan told ET that there were three singers being discussed for the newly open position: P!NK, Miley Cyrus, and Meghan Trainor. The latter has been incredibly vocal about wanting the job, and when asked by "Access Hollywood" about the prospect, she said, "Listen to me: That is my dream job. Please, I'm going everywhere, being like, 'Hi, 'American Idol,' please choose me to be a coach.'" 

One would imagine the show is actively looking for Katy Perry's replacement, with an announcement likely not too far away. "American Idol" is still a reality TV juggernaut, even if winning a recording contract from the show isn't as lucrative as it used to be, and the show can survive any judge shake-ups — whether the new addition winds up being the "All About That Bass" singer or someone else.