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Randy Jackson May Leave ‘American Idol,’ Replaced by Mariah Carey

The judges’ table at American Idol may be completely revamped when the new season starts, as word has slipped out that Randy Jackson may be leaving, possibly to be replaced by singer Mariah Carey.

Steven Tyler announced yesterday that he was leaving the show after two season to return to his first love, Aerosmith—whose members had been complaining about his absence. On the same day, pop diva Jennifer Lopez told the Today show that she was seriously thinking about leaving and seemed to be leaning toward making a getaway, saying that it took time away from lots of other things she also wanted to do.

“I can’t even imagine anyone else there right now because I’ve just spent two years sitting next to him,” she told the Associated Press after Tyler’s announcement. “I love Steven, and we became close during that time. We were a great support for each other, on an adventure that neither one of us knew what it was going to be. So it’s hard to hear that he won’t be doing it.”

If Jackson left, it would be removing the show’s institutional memory, since he’s the only one at the table who was there in the beginning, when Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul joined him to turn the show into a television phenomenon.

According to Us magazine, Jackson would stay involved as a mentor, but would turn his chair over to someone new—perhaps pop diva Mariah Carey, who actually is managed by Jackson.

“[Show producers] think they need to freshen everything up now,” a source explained to Us. “They are in serious talks with Mariah and it’s very close to being a done deal,” the source says. “And they will move Randy into a more mentoring role.

While the show has lost some of its rating luster, producers hope all these moves will bring new attention and freshness to the show—just as Tyler and Lopez did when they joined two years ago. This year’s finale drew just 21.5 million viewers, the lowest ever for an Idol finale, and the season ended with Idol as the second most viewed show of the 2011-12 television season. NBC’s The Voice nearly equaled Idol’s ratings among adults 18 to 49.



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