Talent Recap

‘American Idol’ Winners Who Would Be the Perfect Talent Show Judge

David Cook, Ruben Studdard, and Jordin Sparks on 'American Idol'Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images, Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic, Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

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American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson went on to become an awesome coach on The Voice for several seasons, mentoring a new generation of contestants. But she’s not the only past winner who would make an amazing judge on a talent show. Let’s look at a few more examples.

‘American Idol’ Winners Who Should Be Talent Show Judges

1. Ruben Studdard

Studdard won Season 2 of the show and went on to receive a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his debut album Soulful. He’s gone on to release six more studio albums and also reunited with runner-up Clay Aiken for a Christmas show on Broadway. It would be nice to see Studdard back in the spotlight. He already had a little practice as a mentor to the Season 20 contestants during Hollywood Week earlier this year.

2. Carrie Underwood

Other than Clarkson, Season 4 champion Underwood is the winner who has found the most success after the show, launching an incredible country music career. It would be so cool to see her bring her music industry experience to the judging table and represent her genre like Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan. She already got a bit of practice earlier this year, when she mentored the Top 5 Season 20 American Idol contestants.

3. Jordin Sparks

Sparks won Season 6 at age 17, becoming the youngest winner in the show’s history. She’s gone on to have an impressive career as both a singer and an actress. Her experience, combined with her sweet personality, would make her a great talent show judge. She also has a little bit of judging experience, as she appeared as a guest panelist on RuPaul’s Drag Race and also judged the Miss America pageant in 2017. Sparks also appeared on Idol Season 20 as a mentor.


4. David Cook

This singer brought a rocker edge to the show in Season 7 and was crowned the champion. He’s produced several albums and headlined a number of tours since then. It would be cool to see someone in the rock genre join a judging panel to offer a new perspective and advise contestants in that category. Like Studdard and Sparks, Cook also recently had some experience talking to contestants when he served as a mentor during Hollywood Week.

5. Maddie Poppe

Poppe won Season 16 of American Idol, which was the first to air on ABC. After the show, she released an album called Whirlwind and recently dropped a single called “One That Got Away.” The singer has shown off a fun personality on social media. It would be interesting to see a younger, more recent winner advising contestants on how to navigate a modern talent show.

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