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MANILA, Philippines – After 12 years as a judge on “American Idol,” Randy Jackson said on May 9 (May 10 MNL) in an exclusive interview with E! News that he won’t be returning for the next 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 said.
His departure is a big blow to the show since he is the only remaining original judge, outstaying fellow original judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.
Jackson, who has been an AI judge since 2002 when the competition began, cited a desire to focus on other ventures as his reason for leaving.
“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,” said the record producer.
AI host Ryan Seacrest hinted at Jackson’s decision during the May 9 episode of the show.
“A little later on, we’ll be revealing who’s leaving our show…Maybe a head’s up?” he said as he turned Jackson on his swivel chair.
But this is not the first time Jackson has announced that he will leave the show. Before the start of season 12, he announced that he was leaving the judging panel but would stay on as a “mentor.”
Jackson’s announcement comes in the midst of the singing contest’s falling viewer ratings. CNN.com reports that after topping the Nielsen charts for 8 consecutive years, ratings began to slip away ending the streak in 2012, giving NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” the top spot.
BBC.co.uk reports that the show has fallen behind the NBC singing contest “The Voice” in terms of weekly ratings.
The AI judges of the current season (12th) are Jackson, country singer Keith Urban, singer Mariah Carey, and rapper Nicki Minaj. Rumors have been rife that the entire judge panel will be replaced next season.
Fox Broadcasting Company declined to comment on Jackson’s departure. – With reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com