Judges have come and gone on "American Idol"; the one constant has been Randy Jackson, forever shouting out overused catch phrases like, "In it to win it!" That tradition will end after Season 12, however, as the producer-turned-celebrity judge has announced he's finally leaving the panel. Though there was already speculation last year that he might have had enough, this time it seems it might be a quick decision to respectably retire before everyone gets fired.
Ratings"American Idol" ratings have been making headlines a lot this year, usually because they've taken another slide. When a show that used to garner 30 million viewers on one night now nabs 11 million, the powers-that-be at Fox are going to get seriously concerned. While those numbers are still high enough to make the reality series worth keeping, the biggest blow came when "The Voice" beat out "AI" in the ratings game.
Who's to blame?This year of "American Idol" has a lot of things going against it that could explain the dip in popularity. The intense producer manipulation to get us our first female winner since Season 6 grated on many fans, and despite how painful it is to acknowledge the sexism, there's no way to ignore the fact that cute boys are responsible for bringing in much of the show's coveted youthful audience.
Add to that the fact that despite their incredible talent, this year the "AI" Top 10 have been largely lacking in personality and spark. The sleepy ballads and decades-old song selections haven't helped any, and the well-worn theme nights are getting so tired that even consummate professional Ryan Seacrest can barely muster any fake enthusiasm for them.
Then there are the judges. Poke around the comments sections of any article on "American Idol," and you'll find a lot of venom toward controversial judge Nicki Minaj. But producer Nigel Lythgoe doesn't feel it's any one person to blame. For him it was a lack of good chemistry between individually talented stars, especially divas Nicki and Mariah.
Axing the judges?Randy Jackson leaving the "American Idol" panel would immediately solve the problem of having too many judges. Being forced to sit through four critiques per person is too much, and by the time we get to judge four, there's nothing left for that person to say. Recent rumors suggest that this isn't the only change planned, however.
A source tells The Wrap that Fox is planning to wipe the slate clean and start with new, and probably much less expensive, judges. Master manipulator Lythgoe may also go on the chopping block. The show hopes to gain back its core audience and shifting the focus from diva judges' drama to the actual contestants could be a good way to do that.
What do you think, "American Idol" fans? Do you want any of the judges to stay? Who do you think definitely needs to join Randy and "pursue other interests"?
More from this contributor:If a Girl Wins 'American Idol' by Total Producer Manipulation, Is She Still a Winner?
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