When American Idol premiered 14 seasons ago, audiences immediately admired the chemistry between judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson. Cowell and Abdul have since departed, and Randy Jackson has announced that he will be leaving the music competition show after 13 seasons.
E! News confirmed Jackson's departure, and Jackson made this statement: "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."
Cowell will always have his reputation of being a stubborn judge, and Randy will always be the one who spouted the famous catchphrase of "You're too pitchy, dawg". Jackson plans on producing TV shows and movies, as well as managing artists through his company, Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment.
Fox has stated this about Jackson's departure: "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."
All the current American Idol judges, including Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and Keith Urban, will be returning for Season 14. This is actually the first time since Season 11 that the judges have remained the same for consecutive seasons. The last of the American Idol original cast, Ryan Seacrest, will return as the host.
Now that Jackson has left, it is curious to see what the fate of American Idol will be. The year 2014 showed record-low ratings for the show that used to be a ratings blockbuster for Fox. The show fell 28 percent among adults 18-49 last season. Part of it is the format is beginning to get old with viewers, as well as competition from other music competition shows like NBC's The Voice.
American Idol was most certainly a game-changing show since its premiere in 2002, but the show doesn't seem to have that popularity that it had during that initial post 9/11 era. For whatever reason, audiences latched on to it, and it is not known how long they will want to watch it anymore. Jackson's departure as been called "the end of an era", and one cannot help but wonder when American Idol will also end.