American Idol is losing one of its last originals.
Longtime judge Randy Jackson, who moved to a mentoring role last season, will not be back for Season 14 in January.
Jackson was one of the show’s three original judges, joining Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul when the Fox reality singing competition premiered in 2002. The longtime musician, whose frequent use of the term “Dawg” became a signature, gained great fame as the show became TV’s top hit and produced recording stars.
With Jackson’s departure, host Ryan Seacrest will be the only on-camera talent remaining from the show’s beginning.
In May 2013, as ratings were declining amid friction between fellow judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj , Jackson announced he wouldn’t be returning for Season 13, but he came back in the mentor’s spot.
Jackson on Tuesday issued a statement via his publicist: “After 13 seasons I felt now was the perfect time to leave American Idol. I’m proud to have been a part of a series that discovered some incredible artists and will go down in history as one of the most successful television shows ever. A true original, Idol started it all. Onto what’s next.”
Fox and Idol producers also had a statement: “Randy has been such an integral part of American Idol since day one, both as a judge and as a mentor. He’s provided great advice and support, shaping the success of so many Idols we have discovered over the years. We wish him all the best in his next chapter. Randy will always be part of our Idol family and we hope he’ll visit from time to time.”
Deadline Hollywood broke the story of Jackson’s departure.
Idol’s Season 14 will feature Seacrest as host with returning judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.