Randy says nine seasons have flown by. "We started this and we never knew how long it would go or what would happen," he says. "We're just so blessed and lucky that the show took off."
But with Season 9 comes some major changes. Longtime judge Paula Abdul is out, and new judge Ellen DeGeneres will be taking her seat alongside Randy, Simon Cowell and Kara DioGuardi. "[Ellen's] a very dear friend of both mine and Ryan's and Simon as well," he says. "She's my homegirl. She's from Louisiana like me, so I'm really excited about that."
Still, Randy says things aren't the same without Paula. "I've got to admit, we do miss Paula," he says. "We just finished the auditions, and we look across the table and we go, 'Someone's missing.'"