Who will replace Katy Perry on ‘American Idol’? Why this favorite is taking herself out of the running

Katy Perry made her final appearance as a judge on “American Idol” during the Season 22 finale on May 19.

Perry, who, along with Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, had sat at the judges’ table since the reality singing competition relaunched on ABC in 2018 after 15 seasons on Fox, announced in February that she would leave the show after the just-concluded season.

Now that Abi Carter has been crowned the season’s winner and Perry has made her exit, fans are wondering who will replace the “Roar” singer at the judges’ table.

Richie has said he’d love to see original “American Idol” champ Kelly Clarkson return to the show as a judge.

But the Season One winner recently told "Entertainment Tonight" that judging the singing competition show is not in the cards.

“No. No. I can’t do that, only because I promised my kids. I was like, ‘I wanna be there as much as I possibly can,’” Clarkson said. “And it would put me in L.A., and that’s why I had to quit 'The Voice,' which I love that team. And I miss them so much.”

Kelly Clarkson. (Ralph Bavaro/NBCUniversal / Getty Images)
Kelly Clarkson. (Ralph Bavaro/NBCUniversal / Getty Images)

The “Breakaway” singer shares children River Rose, 9, and Remington, 8 with her ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock. In 2023, Clarkson moved her talk show and personal life from Los Angeles to New York City.

“As a parent — people get this — you only get so much time until they don’t want to hang out with you,” Clarkson told "ET," adding, “That’s the reason (I can’t do 'American Idol'). It’s my kiddos.”

Though Clarkson has seemingly taken herself out of the running, judges and “American Idol” alums have spoken out about who could replace Perry.

"American Idol" judge Bryan told “ET” in April that he had at least “10 names” in his mind for potential replacement judges, but he added that he wasn’t ready to share.

Here’s a look at some of the names in the conversation so far.

Fantasia Barrino

Fantasia Barrino at the 2024 Grammys. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)
Fantasia Barrino at the 2024 Grammys. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

Clarkson isn't the only "Idol" champ whose name has been bandied about as a possible replacement for Perry.

Barrino, who made a special appearance during the May 19 "Idol" finale, previously told "ET" that she would be thrilled to take Perry's place.

“I’m gonna be honest, I would love to,” Barrino said.

The "Color Purple" star said she knew the show's contestants needed help with all aspects of their music careers. “I think that those kids, when they’re coming into the game, I think that they need somebody to come in and not only show them how to sing a song, but how to handle the business because it’s a lot.

"Just having somebody to say, ‘Hey, make sure you have this, make sure you have that. OK, sing this song, sing that song.' Getting to know them, their upbringing, what makes you want to sing, why do you love this, why do you want this?" she continued.

"So I would love to do it. I would be up for it," she added.

Jordin Sparks

Perry announced that she was leaving "Idol" after Season 22 in February. Days later, former winner Jordin Sparks raised her hand for consideration as a replacement.

“Oh hiiii @AmericanIdol—I hear a seat opened up at the judges table! I’m putting my name in the hat!” Sparks, 34, posted on X Feb. 16.

Sparks won Season Six of "American Idol" at age 17 back in 2007.

Jelly Roll

Jelly Roll at the 2024 ACM Awards. (Sebron Snyder/Penske Media / Getty Images)
Jelly Roll at the 2024 ACM Awards. (Sebron Snyder/Penske Media / Getty Images)

Perry has actually weighed in on who should replace her at the judges' table. Her vote initially went to Jelly Roll, who appeared as a mentor on April 8.

“I gotta say Jelly Roll was crazy when he came on the show,” Perry told E! News later the same month. “I was convinced at anything he said. He could run for president, he could be my pastor, I might go back to church for him. He could sell me anything.”

“So I love him,” she said.

The "Firework" singer added that she would like her replacement to be an honest person. “I want a truth-teller,” she said. “I want someone that is not afraid to tell the truth in a graceful way.”

While speaking to K-FROG's "Kelli & Guy," Jelly Roll responded enthusiastically when asked if he'd ever consider Perry's vote for him as the next "Idol" judge.

“Of course. ... Consider? I’ve accepted the job and they haven’t offered it," he joked.

The "Save Me" singer also sang Perry's praises.

“How cool is Katy, though? When we were talking backstage the other day, she tells me this, just me and her — and my wife of course, everybody’s watching — she says, ‘I’m telling you, you need to replace me,'" he said.

"I always love people that are the same way publicly they are privately, you know what I mean? Because some people will tell you how great you are privately, but then won’t post your album, you know what I'm saying? But for her then immediately, first interview she gets asked, brings me up, I’m like, ‘I love you, Katy!’” he added.

We should point out that Perry has since suggested Jelly Roll would not be a good fit, telling "E! News" after the recent season finale, "That would be too many men."

Meghan Trainor

Meghan Trainor in Brooklyn, New York, in March 2024. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images)
Meghan Trainor in Brooklyn, New York, in March 2024. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images)

Bryan and Seacrest both seemed to think that Trainor would make a good contender to take Perry's place when "Entertainment Tonight" suggested the idea to the duo after the April 22 episode of "Idol," which featured Trainor as a guest coach.

"I think Meghan's always been real fun. You know, that's kind of been her brand, to have fun," said Bryan. "(She's) real witty, so certainly."

Seacrest called Trainor a "super talent" and mentioned her lively personality: "She's got a great sense of humor. She's fun and she's spontaneous."

But would Trainor be up for the job?

"There's nothing I want more in life than to be a judge on 'American Idol,'" Trainor said on "ET" in June when asked by her husband, Daryl Sabara.

She added judging the singing competition show would be an "ultimate bucket list dream come true."

"Please, please consider me on your show. Please, 'American Idol,' please! I'm ready," she said.

Kelly Clarkson

51st Annual Daytime Emmys Awards - Show (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)
51st Annual Daytime Emmys Awards - Show (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)

Richie opened up to “Entertainment Tonight“ in April about his dream of seeing Clarkson return to the show as Perry’s replacement.

“Finding someone to replace Katy with a sense of humor, it’s gotta be fun but no ego because we’re gonna insult each other so much,” he said.

Richie told “ET” that he and Clarkson, who previously served as a coach on Seasons 14-21 and Season 23 of “The Voice,” have been pals for “a long time.”

“Kelly, if you don’t have anything else to do, I’d like to drop that out there. Big fan!” he added.

Clarkson, however, dispelled any hopes of her returning to “Idol” when she told “ET” she “can’t” appear on “American Idol” as filming would take her away from her kids.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com