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Randy Jackson confirms exit: I've decided to leave 'American Idol' when current season concludes

By Reality TV World staff, 05/10/2013 

Randy Jackson has ended speculation about his American Idol future and announced he will be leaving the reality singing competition after next week's twelfth-season finale.

"Yo! Yo! Yo!" Jackson said in a media statement released by his publicist late Thursday afternoon. "To put all of the speculation to rest, after twelve years of judging on American Idol I have decided to leave after this season."

Jackson has been a member of American Idol's judging panel since it debuted on Fox in 2002 and is the show's last remaining original judge. 

However, according to reports published last fall, Fox had originally planned to drop him as part of this season's American Idol shakeup which added Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban as new judges. Jackson's judging-panel departure was reportedly a done deal until he received a last-minute reprieve when negotiations with Latin artist Enrique Iglesias fell apart a few days before Fox formally announced American Idol's revamped twelfth-season judging panel.

"I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry," Jackson added in his statement. "It's been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures."

Jackson's announcement follows weeks of reports that Fox is already planning another judging-panel revamp in an attempt to reverse the dramatic television ratings decline this year's twelfth season has experienced.    According to a report published last month, American Idol producers even considered replacing Carey and Minaj in the middle of the currently-airing season in an attempt to end the ratings decline.

Earlier Wednesday, The Wrap also reported Fox had already decided to dump all four members of American Idol's current judging panel for next year's thirteenth season.

"All four are gone," a source told The Wrap. "They feel they've lost their core audience and they want it back."

American Idol's twelfth-season finale will air Thursday, May 16 on Fox.

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