Kelly Clarkson reunites with 'American Idol' judges Simon, Paula and Randy

Hard to believe it's been 17 years since she won "American Idol"!

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/ Source: TODAY
By Randee Dawn

Seventeen years ago Kelly Clarkson was crowned the first-ever "American Idol" winner, and went on to become one of the show's most successful alumni.

But she couldn't have gotten there without the approving votes of "Idol" judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, who comprised the original classic lineup for the singing competition.

So on Wednesday, what did she do? She turned the tables and invited all three of them on to her series, "The Kelly Clarkson Show"!

Cowell gave her full credit for "Idol's" ongoing success. ("Idol" wrapped up on Fox in 2016, but got revived on ABC in 2018.)

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"I actually genuinely do not believe we would be sitting here today if you hadn't entered the show that year," he said. "The whole premise of the show was we had to find a star who was gonna sell records. We found some great people that whole year but when you delivered that moment on that first live show, when you sang that winning song at the end ..."

"It was a game-changer," said Abdul.

Clarkson with Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, runner-up Justin Guarini and Paula Abdul at the 2002 MTV Video Music AwardsKMazur / WireImage

Added Jackson, "We looked at each other at the end, at the finale, and said, 'Wow! This thing is really going to work.' I think that was the moment that we knew."

Clarkson memorably sang "A Moment Like This" after being crowned on Sept. 4, 2002, and the single of that tune went on to break a record held by the Beatles for biggest jump to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. She's since won three Grammy Awards.

All in all it was a big "American Idol" love fest on Clarkson's program. Clarkson even came out into the audience at the top of the show singing Abdul's 1988 hit "Straight Up."

Abdul posted on Twitter about the exciting "reunion."

"So good to see these 3 again," she wrote in the tweet.

Clarkson reflected on her memories of first standing in front of the judges.

"I freaked out because I was like, 'Who is the English guy?'" Clarkson said, referring to Cowell. "When I walked in, I'll tell ya, I knew nothing. ... (S)omebody told me about the audition and I literally walked in, I had no idea what I was doing, I didn't know it was a TV show until the audition I was in front of y'all."

Of course, Clarkson went on to do just fine in the competition, ultimately triumphing over runner-up Justin Guarini, who also appeared on her talk show Wednesday. Be sure to watch in the video above!