Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul returned to 'American Idol' for its emotional finale on Thursday (07.04.16).

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell

The trio - who made up 'Idol's original judging panel - paid tribute to the reality TV show, which has ended after 15 seasons and reminisced on their time together as judges.

Simon said: "On behalf of us, thank you, America, for inviting us into your homes. Thank you to the contestants, and to Fox, for actually put us on the air."

Turning toward his fellow judges, Simon added, "And to you guys for actually being my best friends now. Now, I'm going to miss you."

Randy replied: "We love you man," while Paula joked: "This was an amazing journey. I know you love the word journey."

Paula also praised the current panel of Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr, saying: "You as a panel have been doing a wonderful jo, thank you,"

And they were not the only past stars to return for the episode which saw Trent Harmon beat La'Porsha Renae to be crowned the final 'American Idol' champion.

Highlights included Kelly Clarkson's medley of her hits, which the heavily pregnant singer pre-recorded, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and Latoya London's joint performance, past winners Phillip Phillips, Lee DeWyze, David Cook, Nick Fradiani and Kris Allen reuniting for a David Bowie tribute and Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood's duet.