Dawgs, it’s over for Randy Jackson.
The last original member of the American Idol judges panel announced today via E! News that he’s leaving the Fox talent show.
“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,” he told the outlet. “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.”
News of his departure comes at a time when Idol faces its lowest ratings and worst headlines to date. Though no one — least of all the Fox executives — expected the talent show to remain the behemoth it once was, Idol’s dwindling ratings have been especially troublesome compared to what’s happening with The Voice, NBC’s solid singing show that’s generating good will with fans and the press, thanks to charismatic newcomers Usher and Shakira. Its ratings aren’t too shabby, either: The show is averaging a healthy 5.2 rating on Mondays and a 4.7 rating on Tuesdays.
In contrast, the obviously-strained relationship between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on Idol has only managed to alienate Idol fans, who were then teased (or tortured?) by rumors that Jennifer Lopez was in talks to return to the panel. (It ain’t happenin’). Then a new report surfaced today that said all four of the judges, Keith Urban included, would lose their gigs at season’s end.
Fox, no surprise, is staying mum about the future of the show’s judging panel. But the suits will no doubt have to say something when they address advertisers next week in New York.