Randy Jackson Leaves “American Idol” Judge’s Chair, Will Return as Artist Mentor


“American Idol” fans will see some big changes and familiar faces among the all-star lineup for the singing competition’s 13th season.

Set to premiere in January, Jennifer Lopez will reprise her role as a judge, joining returning judge Keith Urban and newcomer Harry Connick Jr.

Noticeably missing from the judge’s chair? Randy Jackson, who has been a mainstay program since its inception in 2002.

“Randy Jackson will lend his industry and IDOL expertise to the contestants as an in-house mentor for AMERICAN IDOL XIII,” the show’s production company, 19 Entertainment, said in a statement. “Randy is one of the most prolific producers in the business and he spent eight years as Vice President of A&R at Columbia Records, followed by four years as Senior Vice President of A&R at MCA Records.”

The Louisiana native will instead take on mentoring opportunities with “Idol” contestants, and will be available to personally coach them through the season’s challenges.

“Randy is a music industry veteran of more than 20 years and is Grammy Award-winning producer. Randy began playing bass guitar at the age of 13 and got his big break when he joined the band Journey,” 19 Entertainment said in its statement.

Over the years, the show has developed several young stars whose recordings have achieved platinum status.

The first season produced Kelly Clarkson, followed immediately by Ruben Studdard. By season three it was clear that the “Idol” brand was here to stay, as Fantasia took home the top prize. That prize includes a record deal with a major label, a management deal, and access to top names in the business such as Clive Davis, founder of Arista Records.

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Randy Jackson Leaves "American Idol" Judge's Chair, Will Return as Artist Mentor

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