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Randy Jackson Steps Down As ‘American Idol’ Judge, Who’s Next?

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(Photo Credit: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

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After making the careers of artists like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, longtime American Idol judge Randy Jackson announced Thursday (May 9) that he will not be returning as a judge next season.

“Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to rest, after 12 years of judging on ‘American Idol’ I have decided it is time to leave after this season,” Jackson said in a statement. “I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry.”

The veteran judge is the only panelist remaining from the show’s inception in 2002. While his departure marks a milestone in the show’s history, he said he is looking forward to having time to focus on his management company, Dream Merchant 21.

Meanwhile, fellow Idol judge Mariah Carey officially parted ways with Jackson’s company on Friday (May 3), due to clashing schedules, according to Showbiz411. The singer has now signed with Red Light Management, which also houses artists like Steven Tyler and Damien Marley. She will reportedly release her next album this summer, and just debuted her latest video, “#Beautiful,” featuring Miguel, on Idol earlier this week.

Jackson’s announcement comes after reports that all four judges–Jackson, Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban are on the chopping block to make room for some fresh personalities.

While it is unconfirmed whether Carey and the remaining judges will be returning for season 13, Minaj spoke out on her love for the show in an interview with E!.

“I have to say this all the time, but I want people to know it’s genuinely from my heart,” she said. “I love the people on Idol. I genuinely do. If I had to do this all over again, I would have done Idol. Because it’s fun, it’s laughs. It’s kind of sad that what people read all the time is only when something is negative. But they don’t realize that we built a family. I feel happy here and I have to thank them for giving me this chance. They could have picked anyone in the world. And they picked me. So that’s all I’ll say about that.”

For now, there is no word on who may replace Jackson on the judging panel.

- Nee-Sa Lossing, Radio.com

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