Saturday, May 11, 2013 , Updated 12:00 a.m., May 13, 2013
Yo, dawg: Randy Jackson is leaving Idol
He said he wants to focus on his record label.
The last original American Idol judge, Randy Jackson, is leaving the show.
“Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol, I have decided to leave after this season,” Jackson said in a statement, released through his representative.
Jackson has been a part of Idol since the beginning, alongside Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul when the show premiered in 2002. Jackson currently judges the show with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban.
The show has become a national sensation, topping the charts for the most-watched program for eight years running.
Although the show is still popular, with 11 million viewers, ratings have dropped this season by almost 25 percent from last year, when they were their lowest in the show’s history. Idol had been competing with NBC singing competition The Voice and others.
The 56-year-old record producer who was famous for his "yo, dawg" called his experience a "life-changing opportunity." He said, "I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry."
Jackson made the announcement after the show was rumored to be getting a new panel of judges and a new producer next season.
Fox representative Jill Hudson said the network has no comment on Jackson’s announcement. The current 12th season is set to conclude next week.