As the current American Idol judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie grace our screens, we wonder how former mentors are after the reality show. Fans have seen the likes of music mogul Simon Cowell to international superstars Britney Spears sit at the top table. But where are some of the iconic American Idol judges now?

The very first season of American Idol started off with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson. The trio stuck together until season nine.

11 series later, American Idol has had the biggest names in the music industry as judges of the show.

Reality Titbit has gone back in time and reminisced about the old Idol judges and how much – or how little – their lives have changed.

From 2002 to 2022, where are the biggest former American Idol judges now? Keep reading to find out.

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Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson was an iconic presence on American Idol. He was never afraid to tell singers his real opinion on their performance.

After 12 seasons, the judge decided to focus on his health among other business ventures.

According to Yahoo! Finance, Jackson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2013 after his divorce and suffering from “emotional eating”.

Ever since then, he has undergone an impressive transformations. He lost more than 114 pounds (52kg) after undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

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Paula Abdul

According to Screenrant, Paula Abdul exited Idol “after failing to negotiate a new contract” after season nine. She was replaced by American host Ellen DeGeneres for a short while.

Abdul also judged The X Factor, reuniting with fellow co-star Simon Cowell. However, Paula was later taken out of the judges’ seats, as well as, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones. It’s reported the reason was so the X Factor could revamp the judges’ cast.

After she left the show, Paula went on to host and participate in other television shows. She appeared on Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Most recently, she became the judge of The Masked Dancer from December 2020 to February 2021, joined by Ashley Tisdale, Ken Jeong, Brian Austin Green, and Craig Robinson.

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Simon Cowell

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Simon left American Idol in May 2010 after season nine. He returned to the American version of the hit talent show, The X-Factor. He remained as the talent show’s judge until it was canceled in 2014.

Compared to the rest of his peers, Simon Cowell’s life hasn’t changed much. Judging American Idol and The X-Factor, he went on to become Britain’s Got Talent judge for close to two decades.

The Briton is currently a judge of America’s Got Talent alongside Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Sofia Vergara.

Britney Spears

American Idol’s judge Britney Spears only lasted a season, despite signing a $15 million contract. However, her time in the program is worth remembering.

As per the Daily Mail, Britney quit before being fired. Reports claimed she lacked interest and had a ‘boring’ judging style. She was also heavily criticized throughout the show and a close source alleged “it was unlikely she’d be asked back as a judge.”

However, Simon also claimed he could sense Britney was reserved – which may be down to her strict conservatorship she was under at the time.

Fast forward to 2022, after fighting to end her 13-year conservatorship with her father, the singer is now living her freedom with her beau Sam Asghari. Both announced that they were expecting their first child together earlier this year.

Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carey’s run on American Idol was short but vivid in season 12. However, she has been remembered as having a feud with another of the guest judges, singer Nicki Minaj.

Right after she left the show, she focused on her upcoming concert tour. She has never spoken badly about the program, but described working with Nicki Minaj as like “going to work every day in hell with Satan.”

As of today, the singer has been focusing on her two twin boys. Her latest music drop was Fall in Love at Christmas featuring Khalid and Kirk Franklin in 2021.

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Nicki Minaj

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For the same reasons as Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj did not last more than a season. The rapper announced the news via her Twitter account:

“Thank you American Idol for a life changing experience!” she wrote.

“Wouldn’t trade it for the world! Time to focus on the Music!!! Mmmuuuaahhh!!!”

Despite previously collaborating together in the past, Mariah and Nicki dealt with their feud publicly as they had disagreements on the show. Their opposing views lead to the arguments throughout the Idol’s auditions – and even former President Obama weighed in. He said “I think that they are going to be able to sort it out. I am confident,” reports The Wrap.

The star carried on focusing on her own music. Nicki Minaj has also been named as one of the most successful female rappers in the music industry.

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