Is Randy Jackson leaving American Idol?
Nope. But he won’t likely be a judge next year either.
The current status of the Fox reality hit’s 12th season panel negotiations puts the 56-year-old record producer in a mentor-like role, sources confirm. Unless Jackson decides to leave the show, or the talks with his potential replacements completely fall apart, he’s expected to shift to a new position on the top-rated series. Jackson has been a well-regarded member of the show’s cast since the series debuted in 2002, but Fox and producers would like to make a judges panel clean-sweep for the 2013 season.
As has been widely reported, rapper Nicki Minaj is indeed near a deal to join the show as a judge. If hired, she’ll join pop singer Mariah Carey, who signed a contract worth about $17 million per year. Carey fills one of the spots vacated by singer Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, whose exits were announced earlier this year.
The third spot, sources say, is most likely going to Australian country music star Keith Urban.
The top runner-up for his spot (or, if Fox and producers decide to go full throttle, for a fourth spot) is Spanish singer-songerwriter Enrique Iglesias. And, hanging in there with an outside chance, Idol veteran Adam Lambert is still in the mix.
Fox and producers Freemantle Media wouldn’t comment on the judges speculation. Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller likewise had no comment, yet assures that some exciting casting news about Idol will be coming soon.
“There will be several positive announcements to follow shortly,” Fuller told EW in a statement. “American Idol is moving up a gear and with the help and commitment from Fox, who are more intimately involved and supportive this season than ever before, we are looking forward to a dynamic new season ahead.”