Original judge Randy Jackson is to leave American Idol

10/05/13

Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson, the only remaining original American Idol judge, is leaving the TV talent competition at the end of the current series.

The 56-year-old producer and bassist said that he was quitting the show to focus on his record label and other business opportunities.

Randy Jackson has served as a judge on all 12 series of American Idol.

To put all of the speculation to rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol, I have decided to leave after this season
Randy Jackson

He first appeared on the panel with Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul when the competition began in 2002.

A statement from Randy Jackson said: "To put all of the speculation to rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol, I have decided to leave after this season.

"I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry."

Host Ryan Seacrest hinted at his departure at the beginning of Thursday's elimination episode in the US.

"A little later on, we'll be revealing who's leaving our show," he joked as he swiveled Randy Jackson around in his chair towards him. "Maybe a head's up?"

Falling ratings

Jackson now judges the show with singer Mariah Carey, rapper Nicki Minaj and country star Keith Urban.

There have been reports in the US that the entire panel will be replaced next season.

Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey

A spokeswoman for Fox and producers FremantleMedia declined to comment.

Ratings for the programme, which was based on ITV show Pop Idol, have fallen sharply this year in the US.

It has been the most popular entertainment programme on prime time television for nine years running in the United States.

However, it's now regularly behind NBC singing competition The Voice in the weekly ratings.

The current 12th season is set to finish next week with a showdown between 23-year-old R&B vocalist Candice Glover from South Carolina and 22-year-old country singer Kree Harrison from Texas.

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