Simon Cowell’s American Idol’ VS. Katy Perry’s American Idol’ — What’s The Big Difference?

Simon Cowell's American Idol' VS. Katy Perry's American Idol' — What's The Big Difference?American Idol You

Let’s face it, American Idol is a lot different now than it was when Simon Cowell sat at the judging panel in 2002. From the rotating panel of judges to the time spent learning contestants’ emotional backstories, the show has gone through a major transformation. What do people miss about the old American Idol?

How Does New ‘American Idol’ Compare To The Old Show?

Last week American Idol Season 19 premiered with quite a few TikTok stars auditioning. Namely, Claudia Conway and Benson Boone who have 3 million combined followers on the platform. We discussed whether or not a TikTok star could win the show this season. It prompted some mixed comments about how much the show has changed over the years.

“I miss when American Idol was like, random people coming in to audition and the crazy bad singers throwing tantrums and the homeless contestants with great voices. bring that back!” wrote one Talent Recap fan.


It is true that these days, the producers reach out to singers and ask if they would like a chance to audition. This definitely makes it feel like the show is a bit less authentic sometimes. Instead of finding raw undiscovered talent, they’re reaching out to established singers. Back in the day, hopefuls like Kelly Clarkson would show up to the auditions with dreams of making it big. Luckily for Kelly, her career blew up after winning the show.

“THAT was the part of the show that used to make it worth watching! Like college, the first two weeks were when the wildest, most-fun sh*t would take place…and where Simon Cowell would make the greatest put-downs for the untalented rejects!! Oh, man – they just don’t make ’em like William “She Bangs” Hung anymore..” wrote another fan. There has been a shortage of contestants that have had a bad audition in recent seasons and then became a viral sensation like William Hung did in 2004.

The Judging Panel Has Gone Through A Major Makeover

Obviously, the judging panel has gone through some major changes. Now we have Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan on the panel. How does this compare to the original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson?

Well, we can say with confidence that Simon was definitely a lot more brutal with his critiques back in the day. The judge’s comments have definitely gotten a bit softer in recent seasons. We certainly do not see as many bad performances like we used to. Simon would berate contestants and would describe them using his signature catchphrases “atrocious” and “dreadful.”

Other differences are the level of involvement from producers. Some particularly took aim at the producers using Claudia’s story as a way to boost ratings. “Her parents should not have been mentioned, highlighted or shown on AI. Publicity stunt? She should not have introduced herself as their child, but just as herself. Sheez. How ridiculous.” In the past, we still got to see some contestant’s backstories. In recent seasons it seems like the producers focus more on emotional stories that will make viewers cry.

“I really wanted to see more terrible singers. If I can’t laugh out loud, what the point of watching American Idol?” wrote another fan on YouTube. Here’s where some may disagree. There is still no shortage of laughs on the newer seasons like a model challenging Katy Perry to a walk-off during his audition.


What do you miss about the old American Idol with Simon? What do you like about the newer seasons with Katy?


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube with a previous byline at The Blast. She graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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