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JUL
14
2 YEARS

'American Idol': Randy Jackson Responds to Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler Departures

Says the show's original judge: "I will love them for life."

The Dawg Goes Daytime?
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Yo dawg, Randy Jackson is speaking out about the loss of his American Idol co-judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.

"Steven and Jennifer are truly two of the most talented and consummate professionals I’ve worked with," Jackson says in a statement (via Gossip Cop). "I was friends with them before we hopped on this crazy journey together and I have no doubt our friendships will continue long after."

In a dramatic flourish, he notes: "I will love them for life."

This week's rapid-fire departures of Lopez and Tyler leaves Jackson sitting alone at the judges' table. He's been there since the beginning, when the Fox franchise launched in 2002 with Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell on the panel. The revolving door of judges later included Ellen DeGeneres and songwriter Kara DioGuardi in short-lived stints followed by Lopez and Tyler, who joined the Fox competition after Cowell's 2010 exit to launch The X Factor in the U.S.

STORY: Jennifer Lopez Says She's Leaving 'American Idol'

On Thursday, Tyler announced he's not returning to judge season 12 because he wants to focus on Aerosmith. Lopez followed suit the next day, saying: "I honestly feel like the time has come for me to be doing the other things I do that I've kind of put on hold because I love Idol so much."

"Sure, there were moments when the Aerosmith frontman put his pedigree on display, offering a quick anecdote about 'back in the day,' and the occasional nonsensical Tyler-ism was good for a laugh, but did he impart wisdom on these wide-eyed hopefuls desperate for their next break? Not really," As THR's Shirley Halperin observed. "More credit is due to Jennifer Lopez, and this season even Randy Jackson, who figured out a way to criticize tactfully without fluffy compliments of no consequence."

Which begs the question: will Jackson follow Tyler and Lopez out the door, or will he stay put as the show's sole remaining judge from the old days? Also: who should replace Tyler and J-Lo? Mariah Carey? Adam Lambert?

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson

Email: erin.carlson@thr.com