Randy Jackson won't be returning to "American Idol" next year.

The longtime judge (and later mentor) has announced that he's exiting the FOX reality series after 13 seasons:

“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," Jackson told Deadline in a statement. "A true original, 'Idol' started it all. Onto what’s next.”

Jackson was one of the three original "Idol" judges alongside Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. He first announced he was leaving last May, but decided to return as a mentor, working with contestants during "Rush Week" and later in the finals. His exit leaves host Ryan Seacrest as the series' only remaining original cast member.

“Randy has been such an integral part of 'American Idol' since day one, both as a judge and as a mentor," added show producers FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment. "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.”

Another mentor is expected to be named in Jackson's place.

"American Idol" Season 14 is set to premiere on January 14, 2015 with returning judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr.

Are you sad to see Randy go? Sound off in the comments.


A former contributor to sites including MTV's The Backlot and Bloody-Disgusting, Chris Eggertsen worked in film development before indulging his love of pop culture writing full time. He specializes in horror, the intersection of social issues and entertainment and Howard Stern. He's on Twitter @HitFixChris.