Randy Jackson Returning as American Idol Judge for Season 12: It's Confirmed

Randy Jackson American IdolIn much the same way he begins most of his performance critiques, Randy Jackson’s journey back to the American Idol judges’ table for Season 12 has been a long, strange, and circuitous one. Now, TVLine has confirmed that the show’s sole original panelist will indeed return alongside newcomer Mariah Carey, as well as one or two other musicians, when the reality juggernaut returns to the airwaves in January.

“The rumors are true,” a source close to the show confirmed to TVLine.

Jackson had been widely expected to be stepping away from his position as a judge and into some sort of “mentor” role as Idol underwent another off-season facelift — with Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler both exiting after two-year stints, and Carey officially climbing aboard. But yesterday, former Idol judge and current X Factor honcho Simon Cowell sparked internet buzz by Tweeting “Just heard Randy is back on Idol. Right decision.”

A Fox spokesperson declined to comment on news of Jackson’s return.

Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, Enrique Iglesias, and Adam Lambert have all been discussed as potential players on a three- or four-person Idol panel, although several media outlets have reported Minaj and Urban are the most likely to ink their deals.

What are your thoughts on Jackson’s return? Take our poll, then hit the comments and sound off!

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  1. Annie says:

    It would have been interesting to see some behind the scenes mentoring.

    This isn’t the end of the world, especially if the other judges show lots of personality, and the show doesn’t resemble the agree-a-thon that we saw last season. Hopefully the others will have their own opinions.

  2. noa says:

    ugh. enough

  3. In what world is it okay to give millions of viewers a beautiful present — and then take it away? All I want is for the judges to critique. If Randy knew how, he probably would have tried it years ago.

  4. susela says:

    As disappointed as I am by this news, it makes sense to keep one experienced judge on the panel. Here’s hoping one or more of the new hires stays on next season as well and then they can ax the Dawg.

  5. Tahoe Mike says:

    Noooooooo! They promised!

  6. Linda says:

    Well, I’m disappointed. Was really hoping the Dawg was gone. And since Randy is Mariah’s manager, he is likely to be even more useless, if that’s possible. Will he ever disagree with her? “Yo, yo, I gotta agree with my girl Mariah — this [girl/guy] is in it to win it!” Ugh.

  7. Brandon says:

    I’m on the fence. As infuriating as Randy can be, part of me is glad it’ll still feel like Idol. Also alteady looking forward to Slezak’s retaliation against him on Idology/Idolatry/Idoloonies.

  8. sara says:

    Pathetic. Though Minaj would be just as pathetic so yea, who cares?

  9. Samantha F says:

    now I’m definitely not watching. le sigh.

  10. Brenda says:

    Wait, but I thought he was…well, then can he at least fill the seat that was going to have Nicky Minaj???

  11. Well then it looks like i wont be back next season. i just cant stand to watch another season of him.

  12. oh well says:

    ugh. This is pretty much the worst possible choice they could have made. He was a decent judge when he had Simon to argue with, but he hasn’t made any compelling critique since. They could just sit a robot there saying “Yo dawg, that was just aiight for me. It was a little pitchy.” or “We got a hot one in the house tonight!” and it would have the same effect. Watching The Voice last night really made me realize the glaring difference in how those judges give constructive criticism and seem to really care about building young artists careers. It would have been nice for Idol to think about that when creating their panel.

  13. gailer says:

    They need him, I’m afraid. The show is so built around the judges and to have all new ones would not be a great idea. I would love if Paula returned too.

  14. Titina says:

    UGH… Why ? No Idol for me next year. I am happy with The Voice and X Factor.

  15. shawn says:

    wat wud the astralian version of the voice do if keith urbane was in the american idol judge spot?

  16. Jiggy says:


  17. Templar says:

    Mixed feeling about this news, but I can live with it if they fix the (^$^(*$ voting policy. That is what really ails Idol. Worthy singers are eliminated due to the deranged power voters. limit it to 5 or 10 votes per device and the ratings will climb again. It is not worth losing viewers just so Ryan can say “30 million votes” once a week.

  18. freethinker says:

    I was going to watch again if Adam was on the panel, but now I won’t. Bringing Randy back is a huge mistake. Nicki as a judge will also be a trainwreck. What dummy is making these horrible decisions? You people are just crazy not to have Adam on as a judge.

    • adamluv1000 says:


    • Mary says:

      Look I like Adam, but to be honest I did not want him as a judge. Yes he was a good mentor but being a judge on a everyday basis is totally different. He needs to work on his career. I don’t mind that Randy is back, he did have some good critiques, but needs to work on his delivery. From you statement, it is obvious you watch AI for the judges and not the contestants. I can’t stand Nicki, but I will just mute her and if she performs, I will take a break, but I watch the show for the contestants. I don’t feel it was a hugh mistake to bring him back, in fact I said all along he would be back. They need some consistency, to me all these changes sounds like they want to be the voice or XFactor. I for one can’t stand the Voice, and if Xfactor is not about the contestants more this year I won’t stick around for the whole season. I miss the old AI when the contestants had more say in their arrangements, that was when you had the water cooler moment. Producers need to update the theme night and songs and change the voting system, but to not watch because you special snowflake isn’t on, I guess you were never a true fan.

  19. Annie says:

    I would have preferred Enrique Iglesias, but Randy is okay.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Bad move….boring….will never compete effectively with XF and Voice like this. Time for him to be replaced. Saw Voice last night and it has great dynamic with judges. Disappointed in Idol.

    • Mary says:

      I was the opposite. I started watching The voice and turned it off. The judges are getting repetitive and the back stories are worse than AI and that is saying a lot. I just can’t get into this show, the first season was okay, new but they will die a slow death doing it twice a year. Simon won’t have to worry I will be watching Xfactor tonite. I hope he is truthful and say he improved the show because last year sucked.

  21. Blinged Up says:

    Soooooo disappointed. I have nothing else to add. I had such hope…..

  22. dan says:

    Blerg is my new favorite word. It perfectly captures my emotions.

  23. Joy says:

    No love for Randy, but I wasn’t enthused about any of the likely alternatives either, so I guess it doesn’t matter much to me. Last season left me more burned out on the show than I can ever recall being before, and none of these judging announcements are reviving my enthusiasm, so while I’ll tune in again, I don’t have especially high hopes. But in the end, as always, it’ll all come down to whether they can find a viable contestant whose music I actually enjoy…

  24. ChellemaBelle says:

    How about a judge who can actually speak in full sentences that make sense?

  25. Mary B says:

    I have mixed emotions about Randy. Unless they change the voting format for idol it does not matter who is judge, the show is doomed. Also not happy that Nicki Minaj is going to be a judge. She will bring back some young teens but with the voting the way it is that will create more voting disasters.

  26. Jenny says:

    Sounds like they are not able to work out a deal with one of the rumored judges and have to put Randy there since they are starting to film the city auditions soon. Doesn’t matter who the judges are until they limit voting so one block can’t send good talent home.

  27. gallant says:

    just remember it was Randy and the two so called loser judges who helped discover the newest pop sensation, Philip Philips. I just hope Randy works on his vocabulary a bit.

    • MB says:

      Speaking of Phillip Phillips why was he never interviewed by Michael? It is so disappointing that the winner of season 11 was not on Idoloonies.. I tried asking Michael about it on twitter but he never responded to me or anyone esle that questioned it.

    • MB says:

      Speaking about Phillip Phillips, why was he never interviewed by Michael? I know he was sick and was not in NYC right after his win but he has been in NY plenty of times recently yet he still was not interviewed. Was it too late? It was so disappointing that the winner of season 11 was not on Idoloonies. I tried asking Michael about it on twitter but he never responded to me or anyone else who questioned it. A answer would have been nice.

      • FreeHaley says:

        Have to admit he has become huge after the whole Olympics thing where he provided the theme song to the gymnastics team (and it’s kinda crazy how well the lyrics fit 100% to the event and what went down).

    • Mary B says:

      Talking about Phillip Phillips why was he never interviewed for Idoloonies? I know he was sick and did not come to NYC after his Coronation but he’s been to NY plenty recently. I tried to ask Michael about it on twitter but he never responded to me or anyone else who questioned it. It is a shame that the winner of season 11 does not have an episode on Idoloonies. Very disappointing.

      • forwarddad says:

        Slezak never responds to twitter question not sure why. Other writers do- he just doesn’t. I would hazard a guess that Philip just didn’t want to do it. He appears to have a
        Mind of his own.

        • Mary B says:

          I find this hard to believe. He has a mind of his own but I can’t see him saying no to Idoloonies. He seems to be pretty open to interviews even when it is not covenient to him.

  28. madaminbedlam says:

    If this is true, I am shocked. What a poor decision. Maybe more time and money should have been spent looking for an executive producer with vision then wooing random pop stars with name recognition.

  29. Yuk, thought we had gotten rid of him. Like a bad strategic move on “Survivor” or “Big Brother”. Get rid of the dawg while you had the chance.

  30. RD says:

    Is this some kind of sick joke?

  31. Sarah says:

    Have to say I’d rather it be Randy than Nicki Minaj. Her personalities are beyond irritating. If she’s on the panel I will not be watching another season.

  32. Matthew C says:

    He is so boring.

  33. Stella says:

    Omg! This moron is back! Crap. He was useless the last two years with stooped JLo. All he does is sabatoge talented singers like Haley Reinhart and promote singers with far inferior voices. Desperate move by the ai producers….ratings will surely fall this year. RIP AI!!!!!

  34. FreeHaley says:

    Ugh! Oh crap, the one judge who needed to leave by far the most…. is the one who stays. Maybe Idol is done anyway. I don’t know what x-factor ratings are like, but it seems like it might be able to better pull in a wide and young demo at this point and for all the talk from some about how Britney would be a terrible judge, well she seems 1000x more honest than Randy has been the last few seasons and isn’t stuck on relying on ancient catch phrases and the whole panel is actually working out pretty well. I liked Randy a lot way back when but he’s turned into either a total sell out or has just totally lost it and he bashes down the good and praises the crap half the time, sometimes in mean and very unfair ways. For one reason or another, he has totally lost the plot. I bet you’ll be able to predict the winner again from day one.

  35. Julie says:

    Randy is what the mute button on my remote is for. Just glad the disappointment that is Steven Tyler, and also Jennifer Lopez, have gone, they were unbearable with their ‘that’s beautiful, really beautiful’ last series. Adam Lambert would be a great addition, but Nikki Minaj???!

    • FreeHaley says:

      The only thing I can hope is that Nikki would be the type to say hell no to any producer interference with her comments or something. But I’m starting to get burned out form all these shows and by time Idol comes around this spring and after the crap they pulled the other year.