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Randy Jackson "forced" to quit as Idol judge?

Why he's leaving remains a mystery

As Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and a blur of succeeding judges left Idol, Randy Jackson remained the show's rock. No more.

Within hours of TMZ reporting that Randy Jackson is no longer American Idol's "dawg," the New York Post's Page Six is confirming early Friday that the 56-year-old is "out" as the show's judge.

With Jackson's departure, it's also the end of a chapter for the trailblazing talent show, as he was the last of the show's original judges, which included Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell.

But, more perplexingly, the Post suggests this wasn't the veteran music producer's idea. "Producers definitely wanted Randy off the judging panel, and proposed to make him a mentor," a source reportedly told the paper. "Not surprisingly, Randy wasn't too happy about that and tried to negotiate a bigger role. The situation has not been sorted out."

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As such, the Post reports Randy is "none too pleased" with the alleged demotion.

TMZ's initial report from very early Friday morning mentioned nothing of a demotion at the show's producers' hands. In fact, their story paints a different picture, indicating that Jackson was better suited in the judge role — not the smaller mentor role.

"Sources connected to Idol tell us... there's some concern among the brass that Jackson is not well-suited for the mentor role... but they feel they need him because he's the glue that helps keep the show together," the gossip site notes.

The latter story does make more sense. Why would you want the "glue" removed from a role that represents your only constant, especially after being plagued with a dizzying array of judges (from Ellen DeGeneres to Kara DioGuardi) that only stick around for one or two years?

American Idol shows us how to kill a TV hit >>

Both publications seem to agree that Idol wants to keep its four-judge format.

The Post is also keeping the door open for Jackson to stay as a judge — but only if other male stars don't pan out. "Jackson could continue sitting in his spot if producers don't sign another big male star to judge the reality show juggernaut," the publication contends.

More than a few names have been floated around for a new male judge, including Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, in an effort to go even more country.

And we thought there was enough drama with the ladies!

It's been widely reported that new judge Mariah Carey isn't a fan of another possible addition to the judge's table — Nicki Minaj. However, TMZ indicates that the show may keep Minaj on board for that very reason, "because they think the conflict and tension will be good for the show," the site claims.

Photo credit: WENN.com
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