American Idol Judges

The show had originally planned on having four judges following the Pop Idol format; however, only three judges had been found by the time of the audition round in the first season, namely Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. A fourth judge, radio DJ Stryker, was originally chosen but he dropped out citing “image concerns”. In the second season, New York radio personality Angie Martinez had been hired as a fourth judge but withdrew only after a few days of auditions due to not being comfortable with giving out criticism. The show decided to continue with the three judges format until season eight. All three original judges stayed on the judging panel for eight seasons.
In season eight, Latin Grammy Award-nominated singer–songwriter and record producer Kara DioGuardi was added as a fourth judge. She stayed for two seasons and left the show before season ten. Paula Abdul left the show before season nine after failing to agree terms with the show producers. Emmy Award-winning talk show host Ellen DeGeneres replaced Paula Abdul for that season, but left after just one season. On January 11, 2010, Simon Cowell announced that he was leaving the show to pursue introducing the American version of his show The X Factor to the USA for 2011. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joined the judging panel in season ten, but both left after two seasons. They were replaced by three new judges, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, who joined Randy Jackson in season 12. However both Carey and Minaj left after one season, and Randy Jackson also announced that he would depart the show after twelve seasons as a judge but would return as a mentor. Urban was the only judge from season 12 to return in season 13. He was joined by previous judge Jennifer Lopez and former mentor Harry Connick, Jr.. Lopez, Urban and Connick, Jr. all returned as judges for the show’s fourteenth and fifteenth seasons.
Guest judges may occasionally be introduced. In season two, guest judges such as Lionel Richie and Robin Gibb were used, and in season three Donna Summer, Quentin Tarantino and some of the mentors also joined as judges to critique the performances in the final rounds. Guest judges were used in the audition rounds for seasons four, six, nine, and fourteen such as Gene Simmons and LL Cool J in season four, Jewel and Olivia Newton-John in season six, Shania Twain in season eight, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry in season nine, and season eight runner-up, Adam Lambert, in season fourteen.