Randy Jackson is leaving American Idol and will not be returning. He is the last remaining “original” judge left on the show. Near the end of Thursday’s elimination show Idol host Ryan Seacrest turned his chair to face Jackson and said, “A little later on, we’ll be revealing who’s leaving our show,” Seacrest also jokingly asked if Jackson would “Give us a little heads up?”
Ryan, who has been on the show as long Jackson only found out when the rest of the world did, when Jackson told everyone on Thursday’s show that he would be leaving.
Jackson has been a judge on all 12 seasons of the show and after stating that he was proud to be a part of American Idol and that he was also proud of how the show had changed the television and music industries. The 56 year old musician said that he was leaving to focus on his record label company and other business opportunities.
In 2002 Randy was the third judge on the panel with Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. He was an audience favourite with his easy going and relaxed interaction with hopeful contestants. He currently sits on the panel with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban. There have been rumours that the entire panel would be replaced before next years season begins.
American Idol has been dropping in popularity with the new NBC music competition of The Voice streaking ahead in the polls. Despite being the television ratings leader for nine straight seasons, it appears that when this one ends it will still be behind The Voice.
Somewhat interestingly, American Idol and The Voice are British television shows that have been tweaked and brought over to the US. It is also interesting to note that the X-Factor, which is the original English version of Simon Cowell’s Idol, is also losing the ratings war with the BBC’s English version of the music contest show The Voice.
What is apparent on both sides of the big pond is the fact that both American Idol and The X factor are much longer running shows than new boy on the block The Voice. Cowell himself has changed his judging panel several times in an attempt to gain points in the ratings system. Either the public has wearied of the old format of both shows (Idol and X Factor) or the contestants are just better on The voice.
Despite calls for Simon Cowell to return to Amercan Idol, it is doubtful that his presence will increase the standing of a show with such a serious decline in popularity. But until we know for sure who will be coming back next season, we still have this season to go through.
Next week will see the show end in a final showdown between 23-year-old Rhythm and Blues singer Candice Glover of St. Helena Island, S.C. and 22-year-old country singer Kree Harrison of Woodville, Texas. So the big question on everyones mind besides wondering who’s going to take home the winning votes in next weeks big finish, will be who is going to replace Randy Jackson when he leaves and if the other three judges will be returning or not.
By Michael Smith