File 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.
“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.
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.”