Dawg, another judge is leaving 'American Idol' - FOX Carolina 21

Dawg, another judge is leaving 'American Idol'

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HOLLYWOOD, CA (FOX Carolina) -

Randy Jackson been a judge on American Idol since the show began in 2002.

He says he is stepping away from the judges' desk after 12 seasons

"To put all of the speculation to the rest," Jackson said in a statement released by his publicist, "after 12 years of judging on American Idol I have decided to leave after this season. I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It's been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures."

The "speculation" he refers to is Idol's drop in ratings and the constant friction between judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.

There are reports that Fox is planning an overhaul for season 13 next year, but Fox hasn't officially commented

The Idol finale airs Thursday, May 16, on Fox.

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