Randy Jackson, the only original judge still on the Fox singing competition "American Idol," said he won’t return to the show next season, reports Bloomberg.
Jackson was a stabilizing factor on the show, which had added celebrity judges such as Jennifer Lopez in recent years. In earlier seasons, he was a buffer to the acid-tongued Simon Cowell.
Ratings for the show are down about 20% this season, with feuding pop divas Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey failing to lure viewers.
But Jackson’s departure might just be the beginning. It has been reported that all four current judges won’t be asked to return next season, as the show wants to get rid of the high salaries it was paying Carey and Minaj (a reported $18 million and $12 million, respectively) and try to boost ratings with a fresh approach.
In a statement, 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.”