Randy Jackson Reportedly Out as American Idol Judge: Let Us Bid Good Riddance With a Song

Randy Jackson American IdolRumors of Randy Jackson’s ouster from the American Idol judges’ panel have been percolating since the dawn of time for weeks. And now TMZ is reporting that the man commonly referred to as “the other judge,” “that dude who dresses like he’s enrolled in a prep school for clowns,” and “the devil’s mouthpiece” will definitely take on a role mentoring contestants, clearing a spot in the Simon Cowell Memorial Chair for (maybe) Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, or both. (Hey, if that seat was big enough for Cowell’s ego, it can handle Minaj and Nicole Kidman’s husband simultaneously.)

I can’t lie and say I’m in any way upset by the possibility of a diminished role for Randy. Okay, okay…I’ll miss the easy punchlines and kneejerk rage he inspired in my recaps with his relentless name-dropping and penchant for ignoring the performances in front of him (relying instead on a pre-determined script served up by executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and his minions). But other than that, “good riddance,” I say.

Sure, change is scary. And yeah, I know a lot of folks subscribe to “better the devil you know.” But after 11 seasons of “for me, for you,” “kinda pitchy,” “yo yo yo, ummm…uhhhh…so listen, dawg, check it out…” nonsense, there’s no way Idol can do any worse. Right? Right?

With that in mind, I’ve reworked the lyrics to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” — new title, “Underachieving” — to bid farewell to Randy and to pay tribute to his remarkably consistent ability to disappoint. (Click here if you need a little musical accompaniment while you’re reading.) Here we go…

Just an average Joe
But damn he made a lot of dough
He snagged an empty seat on the Idol beat

Just a waste of space?
Oh not when he would slap da bass!
He clutched his swivel chair, Simon’s out of there

Young singers in a conference room
Half-choked by J.Lo’s “Glow” perfume
Hit the notes, they’ll be on tee-vee
It goes on and on and on and on

Viewers watching
Almost 20 million strong
They’re dialing, texting through the night
Singing hopefuls
Spill their guts and their emotions
Randy, half-bored, “It’s a’iight.”

Phoned it in but still got paid
Nigel’s script must be obeyed
Squashing threats to the “chosen ones” each and every time

Praising Lauren, crushing Haley
Season 10 brought our rage out daily
Verbal gaffes made our jaws dip low
He’d go on and on and on and on

He’s a human barnacle!
He’s clinging wildly to the boat
Sinking ratings
“Come on Fox, he’s verbal poison!
Please give us the antidote!”

Now Randy’s finally leaving
Rejoice, people…oh oh ohhhhhh

Hold up, there’s no grieving
Boycott, Swaybots…oh oh ohhhh

Season 12’s believing!
Tune in, people…whoa-oh-ohhhhh….

What do you think? Will you miss anything at all about Randy Jackson on the judges’ panel? If so, hit the comments and share. If not, scroll down and express your unfiltered joy! And for all my Idol news, interviews, and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. aunt_deen says:

    Only ten years late.

    • skillman says:

      “there’s no way Idol can do any worse. Right? Right?”
      ANSWER: Nicki Minaj

      • Lauren says:

        Haha, I know right? She can’t even sing! Wait, I take that back, she can sing with auto-tune. Also, she has been “famous” for what, 5 minutes? I hope the rumors that she will be a judge this season are not true…

        • Aria says:

          This pretty much describes J. Lo, so this casting choice shouldn’t be a surprise.

          • the girl says:

            To be fair, J.Lo has been famous for way longer than 5 mins. Remember, she started off as a dancer on In Living Color. She’s been around since the 90s. However I will concede that her dancing experience doesn’t really qualify her to judge a singing competition.

      • Edward37 says:

        This! I was excited to return to ‘Idol’ (I stopped watching last season, just to painful). New judges, no Randy, I’ll come back! but not if NM is a judge. Try watching her on The Graham Norton Show (YouTube it). Unwatchable.

      • deedee says:

        Totally agree.
        Part of the Idol experience for me was giggling at the Randyisms, and then later laughing at Slezak’s annoyance at the Randyisms. Good times, good times.

    • Temperence says:

      Agreed – way, way late. Now, all they have to do is avoid replacing him with instant channel changers like Sean Combs or Kanye (who I will *never* watch*). I’m already iffy on Mariah and Nikki, but change could be good here, too.

    • Brock says:

      Yep. Agree. The cliches are AWFUL!

    • Ron says:

      About time, but, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban? I can only think of one panel that could be worse: Stephen Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson. Their top ten choices turned them down so this is what they’re going to wind up with. Lythgoe has killed American Idol. I would guess this will be their last year. Carey, Minaj and Urban? Good Lord! ????? Goodbye American Idol!

      • Sue says:

        I’ve seen Keith Urban in concert and he is pretty funny – very quick. He’s also very talented. Mariah Carey clearly has credibility – Nicki Minaj I agree is ridiculous – freak show.

  2. Karen says:

    Can’t complain about this news. I wouldn’t mind Keith Urban as a judge, but I’m not really a big fan of Nicki Minaj taking a chair. I’d love to see Adam Lambert in one of those judges’ chairs, though. Or possibly Pink

    • Nancy says:

      Yep! I agree with Karen!

    • Candy says:

      P!nk just did an interview with Entertainment Weekly and said she’s been asked and she said no, she’s not interested. Which is too bad, she’d be fabulous.

    • Angela says:

      That would be a good panel. I would definitely watch that.

      As for Randy leaving…so, officially the end of an era, huh? Geez, at this rate, if this new season struggles because of all the changes, and if they can’t find strong enough judges and all that, I figure that’ll be a sign “Idol”‘s time is winding down. How much longer can they keep doing this sort of overhaul?

    • Brenda says:

      I can do Keith Urban, I might be able to handle Mariah Carey but Nicki Minaj is a deal breaker for me. I can’t, seriously, I just can’t…I had to mute her on the awards shows. It’s sad what passes itself off as music these days. Did Adam Lambert turn this down yet? Can’t see why he would do something like this with his career taking off as it has…JLo & Tyler seemed to enjoy the break.

  3. Henry says:

    I’d leave to if they were going to bring in a hack job like Nicki Minaj.

  4. georgie says:

    well now that the last trace of the original panel is gone, i think this is a good time to stop watching….bye bye idol :/

  5. Josh says:

    The sad fact is Randy Jackson is still better then Nicki Minaj? How exactly can someone who has no talent judge a talent contest?

  6. Robert says:

    You celebrate the departure of one of the original trio when the replacement is going to be so bad? Whoever is picking the replacement judges needs to be fired. And I say this as someone who rarely ever watches the show these days.

    • ChebbyTopes says:

      This makes no sense “Robert”. Of course you’d celebrate the departure of someone who has done nothing but squak odd catchprases for the last 2/3rds of their career. Are you some sort of inept pro-Randy PR astroturf team? How can you know a yet-unnamed judge is automatically bad?

      Randy’s role is slowly being reduced. This is cause for celebration. How do you not grasp this?

      And you finish with the swipe that you dont even watch the show? Can you be swayed to also not comment as well?

      Yours is the worst comment ever.

    • So why comment if your rarely watch? Why do you care?

  7. Jami says:

    RIP American Idol.

  8. steph004 says:

    I think I’m going with Randy. Probably time to stop watching.

    • WTF… why do people think the judges are important to the show? The show is about the contestants and giving them a chance to showcase their talents to a large public. I always watch online and skip the judges comments anyway. The show would be so much better if they would let the contestants sing the whole song– or much more of it anyway– and drastically limit the judges comments to a couple of sentences. I don’t care if the judges have talent as long as they bring good talent on the show.

  9. bored says:

    I think it was definitely time for Randy to move on, since he was no longer providing very much as a judge aside from a stream of (repetitive and predictable) soundbites. I hope that in choosing new judges, the producers aren’t just thinking about the biggest names, but of having at least one judge that isn’t afraid to criticize contestants and give honest feedback. It’s not terribly interesting and engaging to hear a bunch of “A for effort” comments from celebrity “judges” no matter how much I enjoy their music or even their personalities. The magic of the original idol judges panel wasn’t because they picked the biggest and most known names but more so their chemistry with one another and the suspense of how Simon would react to a performance.

  10. Allie says:

    Honestly, they should just end it. Now none of the origional judges are around anymore, the show’s not as good as it used to be, and they just keep rotating random celebrities to fill the seats of the origional judges when they clearly wont replace them or be anywhere near as good or even stay for more than a year or two.

    • ChebbyTopes says:

      Nonsense. The show is still a cash machine for all involved (except the non-touring contestants) Its not going anywhere.

      But the reason its not as good as it used to be is due to a lack of change, not due to the changes themselves. Idol the show we currently have is the result of cowardly decisions of people terrifed to touch the fomulaic golden goose, but willing to tie on another glittery ribbon.

  11. Brigette says:

    That song was beautiful, Slezak. You should record it. The only thing I will miss about Randy Jackson are his strange array of glittery pins that he donned last season. This is the best birthday present ever.
    “The Great” Michael Jackson

    • deedee says:

      You see? Now, this is why I’m gonna miss Randy. The mileage we’ve gotten from crap like “‘The Great’ Michael Jackson”! I mean – YEARS worth of lolz from one line! Can Nicki Minaj provide us with endlessly amusing material, I ask you?

  12. jrs says:

    Thank. Friggin. Gawd.

    Good riddance.

  13. Linda says:

    Bye, Randy. I won’t miss you.

  14. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    This site isn’t biased at all lol. If you think Nicki Minaj will do better than Randy then I can’t take your opinion seriously. They are ONLY interested in her because they think that she and Mariah Carey will fight on the show. It’s gone from a reality talent show to trash reality TV with the talent show in second place. None of these people actually care about the contestants or launching their careers. They care about getting their faces on TV every week.

  15. Candy says:

    Oh, Slezak, you have no idea how much I was dreading Randy’s constant references to the songs of Mariah’s he produced, so this is great! *crosses fingers*

  16. nickp91 says:

    t looks like American Idol will have all new faces for their judges table this year

  17. Jason Crider says:


  18. Eric says:

    LOL!!! That remix is amazing!!! How long did it take you to come up with that??? I’m impressed!!!

  19. schmed says:

    Surprisingly, I am sad to see him go. He was a bad judge, but I think he improved once he got out from under the shadow of Simon (and even Paula). He was the eminence grise (grisly?) of the judging panel. I’d shrug it off but the incoming panel options sound dreadful. Mariah may be fine, but how is it not obvious to all involved that Nicki Minaj will be a divisve sideshow that the contestants (and viewers) will resent for her lack of talent or insight? I have no confidence that any combination of potential judges will “gel,” and if they go to four judges again, it will be a further distraction from the show’s alleged raison d’etre, i.e the contestants!. (Wow! two French phrases in a single post! Time to bid adieu to the show perhaps.)

  20. Mark says:

    Still waiting on Kristen Chenoweth to be asked to

  21. nodak says:

    Oh, Mr. Slezak- I loved your song- so appropriate to chose one that Randy Jackson continually bragged that he contributed to instrumentally. I will not miss him, because he could not put 3 words together to form a thought. Nikki Minaj is not much of a replacement, though.

  22. Nick says:

    Shame all of you.. Randy was the best!!!

  23. Steve says:

    They should get rid of him entirely; unfortunately Im sure the Mariah contract included his staying in some capacity. I dont think they need him for continuity – theyve got Ryan and have already decided to spend big bucks on a panel. I had read Randy made about $8 million; is he gonna keep that. So much for cutting costs…Mariah alone at reportedly 18 more than Jlo; you have Nicki at 8; Keith at 3-4; and now maybe Enrique Iglesias (ugh)..Idol seems to want to become the XF (or Voice) where the attention is all on the judges banter, fights, etc than the contestants. It is a singing show still no? Viewers will tune in for real or fake Nicki/Mariah fights (ala Simon likes to pit the catty women fights) and also to see the fashion war – what will they wear; hows their hair; what wig etc

  24. Tahoe Mike says:

    Oh happy day.
    Oh happy day!
    When Randy Jackson just went away.

  25. If Randy is the mentor, where is Jimmy Iovine? In my opinion he’s been the ONLY person on this show the past couple of years who actually tried to give the contestants any kind of actual help and advice.

    So far the judging panel is looking terrible. And that goes for all these shows. They’re getting so desperate to try to bring in “names” that they’re forgetting the point of the show and why Idol worked in the first place.

    The show isn’t supposed to be about the judges, it’s about the people performing. The original AI panel worked because they were entertaining, but didn’t overshadow the acts on stage. The last few years AI became about hey, what crazy crap did Steven Tyler say now?? What did J Lo wear?? How many times did Randy say DAWG??

    And that original judges panel actually had credibility at helping discover and guide talent. Jackson had a history of being a manager and a producer, Abdul was a choreographer and song writer, Cowell had been a A&R executive since the 80s. These were all people who had legit backgrounds in the music industry who were able to give authentic guidance and advice as well as being entertaining to an audience. People like Mariah, Nikki, Urban, Lambert, etc….these people don’t have the background, the experience and the knowledge that gives them the right to judge and mentor young talent.

    And people always complained about Cowell for being mean or whatever, but at the end of the day he was also usually right. He wasn’t out there to be mean, he was out there to be honest and tell people they sucked if they sucked because he knows how to do that. When you bring people in like Tyler, Lopez, Carey, Minaj, etc…they can’t give the hard truth to people because they’re too worried about protecting their own image.

    I’m just babbling at this point.

    • Mary says:

      Well said. I always looked at AI as a chance for a singer, and I mean one that is not auto tuned to death, to be able to have a shot at following their dream. I might not be watching if NM is on.
      Sorry she is not my cup of tea. She sucked last year when she was on AI. All the contestants
      Could sing circle around her. How can she judge when she is nothing but a manufacture pop singer. I believe it should be about the contestant and I am afraid they are going in the wrong direction. What the fox executives don’t realize is the younger crowd does not watch AI. Teens have better things to do. part of me thinks they are trying to kill the show. Time will tell, but I do not believe this change will produce good results.

    • Does Randy have something on the blathering Brit Nigel that he would keep him around? As mentor to contestants? Having him as a mentor is the worst possible role for the doofus! Best judging panel possible would be the best prior Idol contestants who really know music and have great talent and showmanship: Adam Lambert & Kelly Clarkson, for example. I can’t help but wonder if Idol would be able to attract better judging talent if the judges were also mentors like they are on X Factor. That gives the show a dual competition factor: judge/mentor competition and contestant competition. More drama and better performances as well. Then if they also changed the voting rules to be more democratic, they’d really have a greatly improved show.

  26. PamV says:

    I haven’t always been impressed with the ‘comments’ that Randy Jackson made – BUT – I think that he had some good points too (especially when he wasn’t name dropping – and yes the ‘yo yo yo and dawg’ left me cringing every time!!!!
    The thing with this whole situation (in my opinion) – is that those in charge all seem to have become comfortable within their roles and have forgotten the sole purpose of the show in the first place – and that was to discover people who were talented. The final choice of judges need to be carefully considered and decided – as they will effectively be responsible for guiding future contestants through their early career as they go through the stages of the show. We want to be entertained – but not at the expense of genuine people who want to succeed in music. . .

  27. Name That Tune says:


    • Joe says:

      I’ll see your Hallelujah (“made famous by my good friend Jeff Buckley who I just talked to the other day!” as Randy surely would say) and raise you an Amen.

      • Templar says:

        Buckley sucked on that song. Writer Leonard Cohen and Jon Bon Jovi each did it more justice and k. d. lang glorified it.

        • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

          Don’t forget Jason Castro! His version is my all-time favorite; he put his full-length recording of it on his debut album. Get it on iTunes!

  28. RalphE says:

    NOT a fan of NM. Have no idea what she brings to the table except filling the “diversity” presrciption. To me she’s worthless, no real credentials at all. However, I’m ecstatic that RJ will be gone next season. This was long overdue. And was even starting to be factor in pushing me away from the show, so revolting he had become.
    A “mentor”???? All the negatives you listed in your announcement are reasons why he is a terrible choice as a mentor- It will be a about HIM, Dude (no matter your gender) I had gotten to the point where I always FF’d through any time he was on the screen. I hope I don’t have to do that too much next season. I hope his on screen time is minimal. Or I might still have to stop watching the show.

  29. Sara says:

    Oh thank the lord.

    Now, lets make sure Nicki Minaj NEVER GETS A JUDGING SPOT and AI might make it out of this alive.

  30. Ally Oop says:

    I am really hoping Keith Urban is gonna be a judge. Not interested in seeing Minaj or Carey AT ALL. I would love to see 4 judges again. Pink would’ce been great but she passed but Adam Lambert would be great–I think it would be awesome to see an Idol alum on there. I think the show had better make sure they get a country judge on the judging panel. Like it or not, country fans make up a strong majority of their current viewing audience and they can’t afford to lose them.

    • Mary says:

      They might if NM is hired. Will they be able to filter her. If they have to bleep her out, this will turn many viewers off. I do not mind the new judges, but I think they should have judges that can give good critiques, not there for shock value.

  31. As soon as I found out, all I wanted was Michael Slezak’s take on it. Is that so wrong?

  32. Lili An-noln says:

    Keith Urban was a coach on the Australian version of “The Voice” and he was incredible. He is very, very likeable (and hot) and really cares about the contestants. He won’t be mean like Simon (but who is?) but people will LOVE him way more than Mariah and Nicki and all their cat fights on the horizon. His critics are always from a positive perspective but they are all truth. You can’t tell he’s been honest. He’s very down-to-Earth, but also very cool.

    Plus: the guy knows the lyrics of every single song you can possibly imagine. Because he sang all of them alone while the singers were performing on the stage: EVERYTHING – from the all time classics to hits from the day before like One Direction songs.

    Michael you should sing the song. Call Melinda if help is needed and please record it ASAP. It’s time for us to hear your musical talents, baby.

  33. spider3tattoo says:

    If Nicki M is a judge I’ll be finally done with this show for good. She doesn’t have the credentials to judge anyone. How often have we seen a rap artist try out on this show, much less make it to the top 48/24? Just no.

  34. jgal says:

    I am soooo not happy. AI should not be about the judges. Let’s bring on some unknowns who have actual credentials in the music industry.

  35. J says:

    I’m watching the show again! I’m watching the show again! Now with more trainwrecks!!

  36. Kasper says:

    Don’t care about Randy Jackson much, but god do I love that Journey song.

  37. phillyaifan says:

    Good god Slezak your fake songs are the worst! Your writing is so fantastic, why do you bother with this crap? Stick with the witty metaphors you’re so good at, I’m begging you.

    And yes, GOOD RIDDANCE Randy. About 7 years late, but I’ll take it.

  38. Adele says:

    Keith Urban mentored on Australia’s The Voice. We don’t know him here as well as you guys in the US do and he completely made the country love him. He KNOWS his music, regardless of genre, and has some really great feedback. He’d be a wonderful addition…and this is from someone who has v little interest in country and western. American Idol could not do better.

  39. TM2Bee says:

    In the name of all that is holy, if they put Nicki Manaj on as a judge I will never watch this show again! And I think this whole article is just RUDE!

  40. Templar says:

    Basta! Enough with the judges! Change the ^$*@!^*&()*)%&#*)> voting policy!

  41. Florence says:

    Michael, you just made my birthday complete! Thanks for delivering such awesome news!

  42. I wonder if the blathering Brit Nigel is the main reason good people are turning down the chance to be a judge on the show. The money is great and the exposure is good, but I suspect Nigel is difficult to work with because of his huge EGO and his manipulative ways. Does anyone doubt that he has his team of writers fashioning the judges’ comments based on dress rehearsals? Does anyone doubt that he controls which contestants get pimped as probable winners? Does anyone doubt that he controls how contestants are presented in terms of their back stories so that his faves get the most sympathy and PR for fan appeal. Best improvement the show could make is to get rid of Nigel!

  43. elr says:

    I just may tune back into the show now that JLO and Randy are both gone. The new judging panel has to be better than the old, right!!?!!

  44. Goat Girl says:

    Good riddance to Randy.

  45. Sandi says:

    Dream panel: Simon Cowell back (X Factor is AWFUL), Adam Lambert, and Kelly Clarkson.

    Nikki M, Mariah, and Keith U.? Well, look like I’m officially done with the show. I know very little about Keith U, but the other two are just too much to stomach. Look like I’ll have to find something else to fill my down time.

  46. Davey says:

    I love Keith Urban. I hope he brings his wife Nocole on to the show.

  47. Meghan says:

    Slezak is my hero.

  48. Lisa says:

    How about Ben Folds! He did a great job on the Sing Off and I think he would be smart as at judge.

  49. Marsaili says:

    Keith Urban is an awesome addition to the show, he is SO talented and just a really great guy overall–and a killer guitarist! Mariah Carey—like her or not, she definitely has the experience and talent to back up her ability to judge and anyone who can’t see that is just plain nuts. But if Nicki Minaj is hired—that will ruin Idol—she is a hack. Period. Anytime she’s performed on Idol, I was embarrased for her and for myself—she was no better than some of the first round Idol cuts. I’d rather have them hire Adam Lambert and listen to his Glamberts gush over every single teeny word he said—at least he deserves to be there and has the talent and experience to back it up (But oh, listening to his fans will be torture)

  50. ejones says:

    Once a judge loses credibility, he or she has to go. Randy confirmed his loss with his attitude towards Haley. Simon has lost his because the XFactor format forces him to be biased towards his own mentored acts however bad they are, and some of them have been awful.