Well, Dawg… HE GONE.
Randy Jackson, the musician and producer who has been a judge on American Idol since Season 1, says he will not be coming back to the panel for Season 13 next year. (Cue sad “awwww”)
“Yo! Yo! Yo!” he said in a statement released by his publicist (Seriously, he said Yo! Yo! Yo!). “To put all of the speculation to rest, after twelve years of judging on American Idol I have decided to leave after this season. I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures.”
Fox declined comment.
And according to USA Today, the “speculation” Jackson refers to is Idol’s drifting fortunes this season, with friction between panel-mates Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, and ratings down double digits year over year. The situation has spurred conjecture and some unsourced reports that Fox is planning an overhaul for next spring’s cycle.
With Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, Jackson was part of the original 2002 judging trio that helped turn Idol into the country’s biggest TV show and a pop culture phenomenon. Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest are the only on-air originals who remain.
Idol is averaging 15.2 million viewers on Wednesdays and 14.7 million viewers on Thursdays, a far cry from the glory days of Seasons 5 and 6, when it averaged more than 30 million viewers per show.
“This is not the linchpin it used to be,” says Brad Adgate of ad firm Horizon Media. “The days of it being a dominant show is coming to an end or came to a close this year.”
Adgate says Idol’s ratings drop worsened after the arrival of other singing competitions, including NBC’s The Voice and Fox’s The X Factor.
BUT… there IS a rumor that if for any reason X Factor is cancelled, the Idol Producers might try to bring back the original Idol panel consisting of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson (if they could get him back, of course).