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Original ‘American Idol’ winner Kelly Clarkson reveals if she’d return after quitting rival show ‘The Voice’

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Three short weeks ago, “American Idol” said goodbye to Katy Perry, leaving a vacant space on the judge’s panel alongside Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

Since she announced her departure earlier this year, fans and the media alike have speculated about who might take Perry’s coveted position. 

Original “Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson was asked if she’d have a full-circle moment and return to the show as Perry’s replacement. Clarkson was a coach on rival competition show “The Voice” from seasons 14 through 21 before taking a short break. She made a brief return for season 23 last year.

‘AMERICAN IDOL’ JUDGE KATY PERRY WANTS JELLY ROLL TO REPLACE HER ON SHOW

Kelly Clarkson smiles in a hot pink dress at the Daytime Emmy Awards

Kelly Clarkson attends the 51st annual Daytime Emmys Awards on June 7, 2024, in Los Angeles. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

“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 shared with “Entertainment Tonight” at the Daytime Emmy Awards. “And it would put me in L.A., and that’s why I had to quit ‘The Voice.’”

Clarkson famously won the first season of “American Idol” in 2002. She made her debut on “The Voice” in 2018. “I love that team. And I miss them so much,” Clarkson told ET of her crew on “The Voice.”

Kelly Clarkson sings into the microphone with one hand in the air during nthe "American Idol" finale

Kelly Clarkson is the original “American Idol,” having won the first season of the competition show. (SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images)

Clarkson, 42, previously admitted that her final four seasons of “The Voice” were a challenge. “Full disclosure, I put on a smile a lot of those times because I was struggling a lot in my personal life,” Clarkson told USA Today in October.

Kelly Clarkson in a black dress sits in a coaches chair on "The Voice"

Kelly Clarkson quit “The Voice,” which films in Los Angeles, after season 23. She and her family now live in New York City. (Evans Vestal Ward/NBC via Getty Images)

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“I’ve learned a lot about what I’m capable of handling, and also what you should not handle. That was me saying ‘bye’ to ‘The Voice’ and having this big move. I love that family, but I was like, ‘I’m struggling. I can’t smile anymore. I don’t feel like smiling.'”

Clarkson left Los Angeles with her two children for New York City, where she films her program, “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”

Kelly Clarkson in a blue sweater smiles on "The Kelly Clarkson Show"

Kelly Clarkson won a 2024 Daytime Emmy Award for “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” (Weiss Eubanks/Syndication via Getty Images)

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In February, Perry confirmed that she would be exiting “American Idol” after serving as a judge for seven years. At the time, the singer said she was looking forward to things to come. “I have some things planned for this year,” she announced on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” 

Katy Perry behind the judges panel in a white one-shoulder outfit on "American Idol"

Katy Perry served as a judge on “American Idol” with Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan for seven years. The three joined the show together in 2018 after ABC rebooted the program. (Disney/Eric McCandless/Getty Images)

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Perry has since advocated for musician Jelly Roll to take her spot next season.

Several other names have been tossed around to replace Perry, including Meghan Trainor and Jon Bon Jovi.

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