Randy Jackson Leaving American Idol

randy jackson idolFile under #NoLongerInItToWinIt: Randy Jackson, once referred to by producers as the “barnacle” of the American Idol judging panel, is stepping down from his role at the end of this season.

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“Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol I have decided it is time to leave after this season,” Jackson told E! News. “I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry.” Jackson added he plans to focus on his company, Dream Merchant 21, as well as “other business ventures.” (Jackson produced the MTV competition series America’s Best Dance Crew for 7 seasons.)

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Jackson was Idol‘s sole remaining original judge, having first grabbed a chair on the panel alongside a then unknown Simon Cowell and “Straight Up” singer Paula Abdul when the offshoot of British hit Pop Idol launched stateside in the summer of 2002.

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Jackson’s announcement comes on the heels of multiple reports that Fox brass are looking to reboot the entire Idol panel — and perhaps even its producing staff — in the face of sharp ratings declines for the reality singing juggernaut over the past several months.

A bass player best known for playing with Journey and Tracy Chapman, as well as producing records for Mariah Carey and a number of other artists whom he liked to name-drop during live telecasts, Jackson’s main claim to fame on Idol was his unflinching committment to catchphrases such as “Yo, dawg,” “molten hot lava bomb,” “in it to win it,” and “if you can sing, you can sing anything.”

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131 Comments
  1. Allison P says:

    I think it’s more than time for American Idol to just end. For good.

  2. Rusty says:

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  3. CAM says:

    I know you are celebrating, Michael!

  4. Beth says:

    Our family used to LOVE AI. But when the judges started changing, we all slowly lost interest. I don’t know if the show can ever get back that kind of dynamics. Maybe it is time to let it fade away. BTW, The Voice doesn’t come close to being as good as AI was in the beginning. Best of wishes to Randy. We all liked him as a judge.

  5. Meghan says:

    Slezak you are too much! Love the last paragraph.

  6. RedInDenver says:

    I saw an article on the Drudge Report an hour or so ago that said Nygel and all FOUR judges will be gone; so it will be interesting to see what they come up with for Season 13.

  7. Marlon says:

    This show should just end. 12 years already, It’s about time! The Voice is the NEW thing! :)

  8. TVDIVA says:

    How could you forget Randy calling contestants “church girls” like they all sang in a gospel choir and that is why they can sing? Frankly, it is time for either AI to go, or for the show to be revamped back in favor of the talent. Right now the show is about spending millions on judges who are there to promote their own egos and agendas, leaving the contestants to try and work out what to do themselves. All the judges needs to go – except Keith Urban who I think does offer advice to help the contestants. And they need to get more coaches in – somebody to help groom them besides just Jimmy. Randy has plenty to do to make money producing albums and he can coach performers privately.

    • Carmen says:

      I like Keith too but he’s got to stop calling every female contestant “Baby.” I don’t think he did that much at the beginning, or maybe I just didn’t notice it, but then he was doing it ALL OF THE TIME in the later shows and it gets annoying, at least to me. O’wise I like him on the show.

  9. Tony says:

    Only 11 years overdue. He’s the Sanjaya of judges.

  10. Malcolm says:

    Keep Nikki? Y’all must be smoking the same dope she is. Randy is a PITA but at least he does know talent. Keep Keith and (maybe) Mariah, add a judge that knows how someone can be produced for success and quit the gimmicks. Or just end the show while it still has a small amount of respect left.

  11. Zoe says:

    This news is more than a’ight with me, dawg. Might be enough to get me to tune in again.

  12. Pavanne says:

    Thank you, God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  13. Julie says:

    Good, bye Randy, careful the door doesn’t hit you on the arse on your way out! Maybe take Lythgoe with you too..?! Keith has been a breath of fresh air on the panel though, really likeable, loves music, constructive comments and knowledgeable. I had no real prior knowledge of Nicki, but assumed from what I read that she’d be horrific – have to say she’s surprised me. No need to replace all judges though, keep Keith and Nicki and find a 3rd.

  14. Kiki says:

    I’m the only person here who liked Randy. He often had good criticism to offer. And he was super colorful. I liked his laid back attitude, and I found his dropping of names endearing. ENDEARING. So there you go. You won, guys and gals. He’s gone. Remember how everyone was making fun of Paula Abdul and now suddenly everyone misses her? It’s because she was her own personality. So is Randy. He’s NOT stupid. Nor is he an uncaring slob of a man out only for himself! It’s sad that unique personalities are maligned so readily. Hey, Randy, I for one will miss you. I loved your “in it to win it” sense of fun.

    • Natalie says:

      I am so pleased to hear you say that! I feel the same way:)

    • HTGR says:

      I loved him for all the first seasons. But hated him since Simon left. He just seemed to change and sell out or become a total producer puppet or something. S10 he was the worst and seemed to send the entire show on the spiral it’s been in since (perhaps by following Nigel but whether his own actions or Nigel’s he was willing to do them). S11 he was mixed bad. This season is was weird, sometimes it was the same old fake games of S10 and yet other stretches he seemed to be the only one willing to give some legit criticism to someone or say something sensible.

  15. Kevin says:

    About time…did he have any credibility in advising any singer at all! This show has jumped the shark year after year…spent millions of dollars. Yes, it’s is a iconic show, but again not an original. Think back to all the other great singing shows. If this show lasts the test of time it must have better people with personality.

  16. Harmony says:

    The last paragraph reads like an obituary. I wonder if they’ll actually write those awful catch phrases on his headstone some day.

  17. James says:

    “molten hot lava bomb”

  18. bingham says:

    Rumor has it the whole panel will be replaced next season. Hopefully they do a better job of picking judges this time. I didn’t think they could possible hire a worse judge than J-Ho and yet they managed to hire 2 worse!

  19. Brandon says:

    :( I must be the only one sad about this news. I love Randy on Idol, even if for nostalgia’s sake. The show will be weird without him.

    • Kiki says:

      Brandon, you didn’t see my post above–I agree with you. People can be so short-sighted and unwilling to appreciate differences…it’s so easy to pull down. It’s much harder to see the good in people.

      Randy was a character. You either focus on his good points, or you rake him over the coals incessantly, like Michael did. Slezak’s insistence upon dissing Randy constantly really changed my perspective on Slezak. I realized he was more into winning popularity votes from his fans than being a classy kind of reviewer. He showed good taste, though, in choosing to work with Melinda Doolittle. That’s what keeps me reading him and watching IDOLOGY. Otherwise, he’s lost my respect for the way he taunts Randy.

  20. Charles T Mitchell says:

    One of my favorite Randy “moments” was just this last Wednesday while critiquing Candice’s 2nd round performance. Commenting on the (Judges Choice) choice of song he boasted, “Kudoos to us!” Pure Dwag…

  21. HTGR says:

    ” and perhaps even its producing staff”
    .
    Should read “the producing staff and perhaps even the judges”. I bet it’s the producing staff that is 90% the blame.

  22. Lois Benton says:

    I like Randy, but I don’t like the way reporters, bloggers, posters, and even the very rude Harry Connick Jr. in a recent show, have all so very faddishly piled on the Randy hate for the last several years. None of the judges that have ever been on this show were ever great, failing to overcome being shills for the producers, but Randy was better than most of them. In fact, I’d rate the judges in order of effectiveness, as to making astute musical or production comments, either to be helpful to the contestants or to offer rational comments for the viewers as: Kara Dioguardi, Randy, Keith, Mariah, Nicki, Simon, Paula, Stephen Tyler, Jlo, and Ellen. Simon was too random and silly in his comments, often mean for no reason, and, by comparison, makes Nicki Minaj look like a thoughtful and measured critic. The show does need shaking up, though, as everyone has known for years. The producers should go off the plank first, and, before they go, they ought to make a public apology to Jermaine Jones.

  23. houster says:

    A judging panel of Harry Connick, Jr., Michael Slezak, and Melinda Doolittle would be a good start to right the sinking Idol Titanic.

    As for a producer, get someone whose worked extensively with Mark Burnett, and tell the Fremantle executives to butt the hell out.

  24. darcy the slutty twin says:

    I am doing triple cartwheels and quadruple jumping jacks at this news!

  25. drjphd says:

    Nigel, please beef up your judging panel with a producer not already associated with the show, like Rick Rubin, Quincy Jones, T-Bone Burnett, etc.

  26. Maurice says:

    If Idol is dropping in TV ratings, what’s replacing it – The X Factor? Maybe bring Simon and Paula back as judges. I think both of them now have second thoughts after they left the panel. Randy may have regrets later on as well; unless the show actually folds.

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