Randy Jackson Back at ‘American Idol’ Judges Table

Randy Jackson will be an American Idol judge, Take 12

Looks like Randy Jackson is headed back to the “American Idol” judges table after all.

After an entire summer of speculation that the “dawg” was out, it appears that he’s back in. Sources say that the deal was closed rather quickly on Jackson, with whom Fox had an option, after talks broke off with Enrique Iglesias.

With Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj signed along with Jackson, the result will be three of the judges for the upcoming season will be black. The fourth seat reportedly will be filled by Australian country singer Keith Urban. Fox is expected to unveil its four-judge panel this week. It will be interesting to see if the finalists lean heavily in the direction of country, as they have in recent years, or if they veer toward R&B, which has been decidedly missing from the show. The show has been criticized for rewarding a succession of white guys with guitars.

“Just heard Randy is back on Idol,” former Idol judge Simon Cowell tweeted tonight. “Right decision.”

Jackson is Carey’s co-manager and was instrumental in getting her on the panel, so it should be interesting to see how Jackson manages Carey and Minaj together on the same set. Carey reportedly was not pleased earlier in the summer when she heard Minaj was a finalist for the table. According to TMZ, Carey hung up the phone on Idol staffers when she was told Nicki was the top candidate.

Sources said the songstress was upset about the “Starships” singer/rapper primarily for two reasons: first, she was led to believe by the Idol team that she would be the only woman on the panel; second, Minaj is much younger—she’s 29 to Carey’s 42—and might offer some competition Carey would rather not have. Jackson might have to act as a sort of buffer between the two women if the dissension continues. Or perhaps this speculation might be completely off base and the two women become fast friends and a tight duo at the table.

Where this leaves the country singing Urban in this hip hop/R&B troika remains to be seen—though Jackson will surely go out of his way to make Urban feel comfortable by reeling off his country music bona fides on a continual basis.

Welcome back Randy!


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