Randy Jackson - who has been an American Idol judge since the advent of the show in 2002 - will not return to the panel for the new season. The music industry veteran has essentially been demoted to the position of 'mentor' - a decision that he's understandably none too happy with, reports the New York Post.
Early reports suggested Jackson had left the show of his own accord, though that now doesn't appear to be the case. A source revealed, "Producers definitely wanted Randy off the judging panel, and proposed to make him a mentor.Not surprisingly, Randy wasn't too happy about that and tried to negotiate a bigger role. The situation has not been sorted out". With American Idol reverting to a four-judge format, it appears as though head honchos want the biggest stars available in order to compete with The X Factor Usa, which boasts Britney Spears, Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato amongst its judges. There has already been controversy in the build-up to the new Idol season, with new arrival Mariah Carey apparently unhappy with talks to bring Nicki Minaj into the fray. An insider said, "At the moment the show is in disarray, as they still need to sign another male star to the panel". That star will not be Kanye West or P Diddy, who have both been linked with the show, though could be a prominent male country singer (with Idol bosses wanting to capitalize on the show's healthy habit of creating country artists). Keith Urban and Brad Paisley are both being sounded out for the role.
Randy Jackson has been in the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons, getting caught up in a family feud involving Michael Jackson's children.