LOS ANGELES — “American Idol’s” game of musical chairs may have taken another casualty as new reports claim Randy Jackson is vacating his post as judge — a spot he’s held since the singing competition premiered in 2002.
Jackson is reportedly stepping away from the judges’ table but would continue to play a role in the show as a mentor to the contestants. No word on what capacity that mentorship would be.
“Idol” currently relies on guest musicians to dole out advice alongside Jimmy Iovine, the in-house “Idol” mentor and chairman of Interscope/ Geffen/ A&M (contestants broker deals through Universal Music Group, with Interscope proving popular among them).
Speculation over who will occupy the judges’ table when the competition kicks off its 12th season in January went into overdrive the moment Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler announced their departures after two seasons.
Pop diva Mariah Carey became the highest paid judge in reality TV when she inked a deal, reportedly worth $18 million, to replace Lopez. Carey remains the only confirmed judge.
Gossip sites such as TMZ say rap-pop chameleon Nicki Minaj’s deal to join “Idol” is “99 percent done,” but the addition of Minaj would prove a logistical challenge for producers. Plenty have focused on her Pepsi deal and how it conflicts with “Idol’s” rather prominent relationship with Coke, but the often pink-haired performer still has a headlining world tour on her plate. She just wrapped the U.S. leg and her “Pink Friday Reloaded” tour is set to go from October to December in Europe and Australia (though there are some breaks in the itinerary).
Fox has been mum on further details on the “Idol” judge question, which makes sense given how much press has been given to a show that’s premiering after anticipated revamps from competitors “The X Factor” and “The Voice.”
A slew of high-profile names have also been linked to the show in recent weeks. Depending on the time of day, the next season’s panel could include Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Kanye West.