Should American Idol 2013 Be Randy Jackson’s Last Season?

American Idol judge Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson is currently best known for his role as the “anchor” judge on American Idol, the only one of the ever-changing faces who has been with the show since the very beginning.

Shortly before the start of American Idol 2013, it was announced by several news outlets that Randy would be vacating the judge’s chair he has occupied since 2002 and switching to the role of mentor. At the last minute, Simon Cowell, former judge and producer, tweeted that Randy was indeed staying on after all and it would be business as usual for the veteran judge. Randy is not the typical judge we’re used to seeing on the panel in the sense that he is not a mainstream singing sensation, not a pop star, not a country crooner, nor a rapper. At least not the sort that we typically have had sitting in judgment on the popular reality show.

Let’s do a quick review of Randy Jackson’s musical career to remind ourselves of why he was chosen to be a judge in the first place.

Mr. Jackson began his career as a session musician, which in basic terms is an instrumentalist or vocalist who backs up or provides background music or vocals for another artist or group. A session musician usually provides these services on tour or in the recording studio. They must have near perfect pitch and be able to adapt quickly not only to the genre, but also the style of whomever the recording artist happens to be. Historically, a session musician rarely achieves widespread fame because of his relative anonymity. Randy, however, is a phenomenally gifted bass guitarist and found himself in popular demand almost overnight.

Randy is perhaps best known for his time with Steve Perry and the band, Journey. He played bass on most of their hits including “Don’t Stop Believin”, and toured with the band as well. He has also played in the bands of Carlos Santana, Jean-Luc Ponty and Kenny G. Other session musician credits include Stevie Nicks, Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Joel. Randy has even been the featured bass guitarist with The Charlie Daniels Band at The Grand Ole Opry. He contributed his musical genius to Bruce Springsteen’s “The E Street Shuffle and “Greetings from Asbury Park” albums. Mary J. Blige’s single “Stronger with Each Tear” and Madonna’s album, “Like a Prayer” both featured Randy on bass as well. Randy has recorded with Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Boyz II Men, Cher and the list goes on and on and on.

Randy later moved into producing where he has been very successful as well. He has a long-standing connection to fellow judge, Mariah Carey, having been musical director for several of her tours and has even been part of her band during numerous performances including Live 8 in London. He has also played bass on many of her singles including “Merry Christmas to You”. Randy was seen playing bass on Mariah’s MTV Unplugged performance in 1992.

Production credits include hits for Celine Dion, Fergie, Whitney Houston and N’Sync, Justin Beiber and Patti LaBelle. Randy was executive producer of American Idol Season 11 Top 10 contestant, Casey Abrams’ self-titled album, released in 2012.

Oh, and Randy also produced the reality show “America’s Best Dance Crew”, on which dance groups competed for a grand prize of $100,000.00. It ran for 7 successful seasons on MTV.

I almost forgot to mention Randy has also won a Grammy.

Many of you have commented that Randy seems to have very little of substance to say when it comes to critiquing the performances of the Top Contestants each week. His now familiar remarks, “she’s in it to win it”, “that was the best performance of the night”, “Yo, Yo, Yo”, using “pitchy” in a variety of ways, and lastly, bestowing the honorable distinction of “Dawg” on a select few, have become what some have called repetitive, unhelpful and worst of all, totally predictable.

There have been comments made that American Idol 2013 needs to replace Randy with someone with more “star power”. Well, considering his accomplishments and star- studded history, what does more “star power” actually mean? And is ”star power” a more valuable asset than experience for a judge? It certainly could mean a much needed booster shot to American Idol’s declining ratings? Tell us, what do you think?

References: Biography.com, twitter.com, allmusic.com

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33 Comments

  1. First of all, thank you for that information on Randy. It certainly changed my opinion on his credibility especially his comments on the pitch of the singer. Has he ever had a chance to perform on Idol? Maybe he doesn’t play bass guitar much anymore, but I think people would pay more attention to his comments when they realize his musical ability and diverse genres. I think he should stay–just get rid of the comments like “in it to win it” that get to be old after a while.

    • Randy did perform on Idol. He played bass for Jennifer Lopez. Agree with most of the comments above. Keep Randy and dump Niki!

  2. Most knew him from Journey (yuck), but I knew him from Jean-Luc Ponty, and well his work with Springsteen was on two of his best ever albums when he was still a relative unknown. The list of names he has worked with is impressive indeed, his famous quotes not so.

  3. Absolutely not. He brings balance to the show. No more spoiled divas please, keep the mature and down to earth judges like Randy, we dont want to see egotistical persons, or flamboyant stars, Randy is quite good and the reason I still may be looking the show in a future despite I stopped watching it because of Minaj.

  4. Randy needs to stay and hold the show together. Nicki was a big mistake, I even think by having her on there that Mariah is not as good as she could be. I’m afraid if Randy doesn’t stay the show will fall apart, by losing viewers. The is a real need for this show to stay strong.

    • Your comments are absolutely spot on, especially with Nicki being a waste of time. She is absolutely destroying the show. Thanks good ness for pause control and fast forward on a remote control these days.

  5. Randy is no rube or slouch. He is considered one of the best bass guitarists In the world. He also must be pitch perfect in order to have been so in demand as a session artist. Maybe thats why he mentions pitch so often. If anybody’s interested browse youtube and you can find videos of Randy playing w/ various artists including James Durbin. There’s also some instructional videos made by Randy on how to select the right guitar and even tune it. Randy also plays piano and he’s composed songs for Michael Jackson and loads of others. He’s definitely qualified to be a judge on Idol. Given his experience, I dont understand why he doesnt give more detailed critiques of the contestants.

  6. I think Randy i sthe only good judge this year by a long shot, I am amazed people say he never has any sunbstance for me he is the only one of the 4 that actually does make useful critic. He is the onlything, plus of course the singers, that is holding the show together.

  7. I think idol is on its way out. If it stays so should Randy. Get rid of Nikki she is a no talent joke. Mariah is more interested in her hair and making sure her boobs stick out. Keith is hot but not a judge. jimmy is the new Simon. They need to get a vocal coach and another Singer with talent as judges and then maybe it would be interesting again.

  8. Y’all really need to keep Randy and get rid of Nicki. Speaking of judges with little substance in their commentary… “you know I love you, right?” “You know you are my little marshmallow!” “Where did my little baby go?” and let us not forget “I have been obsessed with you from the beginning.”

  9. People need to stop judging the judges. Randy is a very good judge. I liked the show better when there was just 3 judges. Niki can leave any time…..she is a joke.

  10. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Randy – he and Ryan bring stability to the show! If you are going to rid anyone from the judging panel it should be “Nicki” She is rude, crude and obnoxious. She makes rude facial expressions and is very inappropriate to say the least. Keith has been a welcome breath of fresh air, however. But back to Randy; he is a great judge and does a great job telling it like it is – no matter what lingo he chooses to use 🙂 If Nicki is still on the show in 2014 I will not be watching it any longer as well as a whole bunch of people I know – jus saying’ Thanks

  11. keep randy and get rid of nicki if sh’s there next year i won’t watch she mean nasty and shows no respect to anyone and her voice is alful i hear enough baaby voices at home i watch the show to get away from the babies, how about cher, Dolly, reba, Travis, Randy travis, lAlan Jackson there are so many good ones and you get nicki please what were you thinking we want the show to go on oand on and on not die!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. In my opinion, the format change this year has not worked.
    Randy is not a problem. He has been consistent for as long as I have been watching. Nikki is sometimes constructive if you can get beyond her rediculousness. Keith seems to really enjoy the process but will never really tell it like it is. He always tries to stay positive. I have always thought that Three judges was enough. Four was too much from the time that Kara was added….And now, to top it off, Mariah has never had anything worthwhile to say. I always fast forward through her comments. I have watched the show since season 4 and I think its time that Idol think about going out while its still on top.

  13. I really like Randy as a Judge, not real thrilled with some of the comments Nikki makes. I miss Simon Cowell. He told it like it was and was right most of the time.

    • I had never thought of Cher, but you are right. Nicki’s looks of sheer boredom and her eye rolls are completely unprofessional. Her advice to “ignore” Jimmy Iovine is disrespectful. I could be happy seeing her fired right now. It seems like Mariah would have more to say if she didn’t nave to worry about getting Nicki upset. Randy and Keith are terrific but they often times seem like they are also cast as referees. I’m not sure about how Cher and Mariah view each other, but I think they would both be professional no matter what.

  14. Randy is not as terrible as Mariah or Keith on the show. The highlight of the season for me has been Nicki. Someone has to tell it like it is, and she has done so time-and-time again. It is cringe-worthy to hear Mariah and Keith attempt to come up with positive comments to bad performances. The perfect example was the judge’s comments to Angie Miller’s performance last week. It is not helping people grow to sugar-coat everything.
    The constant mention of Nicki’s name as the one to have to go is laughable. She is hands down the most entertaining judge on this show. Were she to leave, this would be the most boring panel of 3 judges imaginable! Does Mariah even want to be there? I am still waiting for Keith to tell a contestant that their performance was terrible, but he won’t

  15. I would keep Randy. Please. There are times when he seems like the only judge with any sense. Mariah seems nice but rambles on without any substance. Nikki is nothing but trouble like the other night refusing to consider a save and showing up late for the show. I like Keith and he can be good at times but ramble like Mariah at others. Randy is the best. Keep him.

  16. Great article! Had no idea what Randy’s background was so now I know why he’s a judge. Idol needs more judges like him. Mature, experience andd QUALIFIED!!!

  17. both mariah and nicki need to go. i haven’t seen that much eye rolling and diva attitude since i don’t know when. neither gives constructive criticism and nicki is just in her own ridiculous universe. randy is getting stale but then again, it think the show is starting to get stale. this season is so slanted it’s almost hard to take it seriously. hate to say it but there is much better talent on the voice and i’m talking male talent. the girls on idol this season are brilliant, but as we all know, that’ s what the producers wanted

  18. I say get rid of Nicki and Mariah…ugh…I almost did not watch after the first 2 episodes, but the producer seems to recognize that we do not want to watch the ladies fight…we want to watch the singers sing. I DVR it and fast forward past the ladies’ commentary. I could only take so much “marshmellow” and “well, darlin'” comments.

  19. Randy…a man of few words! I’ve always felt he knows his stuff and fits in comfortably with whoever is on the panel. Thanks for the write-up, he has an outstanding resume!! Yo! Randy!!!

  20. Definately KEEP Randy, after all he is the last of the “original” judges. I like his judging and I believe that most of the time I agree with him and think he is right on. as for Idol declining ratings; I really think that is because of Niki I think she has been a discrace to the show. I personally have nothing against her but the drama.. NOONE wants. She does NOT act or look professional. I like Randy the best of all judges this season.

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