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Kelly Clarkson Signs on as ‘American Idol’ Guest Judge

Kelly Clarkson American Idol Guest Judge
Isaac Brekken, Getty Images

Kelly Clarkson will be returning to American Idol during the show’s final season — but this time, she’ll be in the judge’s chair rather than on stage.

The singer will serve as a guest judge and perform during Season 15’s first live show, which is scheduled for Feb. 25.

“We’re really happy she wants to be a part of this,” executive producer Trish Kinane says. “The show has meant a lot to her, and despite being pregnant, she wants to be a part of this.”

Clarkson, who became the first-ever Idol winner in 2002, also wants to be part of the TV singing competition’s finale, which is two parts and is scheduled to air on April 5 and 6, but due to her pregnancy (with a baby boy!), it’s not certain if she will join.

In addition to Clarkson, other past Idol winners will participate in duets with finalists during this season’s middle rounds, says Kinane. Thus far, Ruben Studdard (Season 2), Jordin Sparks (Season 6), David Cook (Season 7), Kris Allen (Season 8), Scotty McCreery (Season 10) and Nick Fradiani (season 14), as well as Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina are scheduled to appear as duet partners.

“The point about this season is that we still have to find the amazing 15th American Idol. But we also want to acknowledge the great rich history that the show has had,” Kinane adds. “So, without being purely nostalgic, we are bringing quite a few of the former Idols to help the new contestants this season.”

While fans are hoping for a reunion of the original judges’ panel — Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell — the fact that Cowell is working as a judge on America’s Got Talent is making things tricky.

“I appreciate Simon’s part in the history of the show,” says Kinane. “[But] there are huge scheduling issues. The most we can expect is for Simon to be at the finale.”

Who else could show back up during American Idol‘s final season? So far, there’s been no mention of Carrie Underwood, who won Season 4 — but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

“We’re talking to everybody that’s made a huge contribution to the show, and we would love them to come back,” Kinane reveals. “I’m pretty confident we’ll have an amazing finale.”

Other country singers from Idol include Kree Harrison, Skylar Laine, Crystal Bowersox, Josh Gracin, Danny Gokey, Casey James, Bucky Covington and Kellie Pickler.

What Are American Idol‘s Country Alumni Up to Now?

NEXT: Top 10 'American Idol' Country Singers

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