Jackson out. Randy Jackson, the lone original American Idol judge, says he won't be returning to the Fox talent competition. "To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol, I have decided to leave after this season," Jackson said in a statement. "I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry." Jackson currently judges the show with Mariah Carey, R&B diva Nicki Minaj, and country star Keith Urban. His exit comes amid reports—like this one in the Wrap—that the entire panel will be replaced next season. A spokeswoman for Fox declined to comment.
Ratings for Idol have plummeted this season. The show has been the most popular entertainment program in prime time for nine years running, but it's likely Idol will lose that distinction this season. It's now regularly behind the NBC singing competition The Voice in the weekly ratings. Jackson has served as a judge on all 12 seasons of Idol. He first appeared on the panel alongside Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul when the competition debuted in 2002, becoming famous for his easygoing "yo, dawg" rapport with contestants.