He's played with greats like Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia and Journey,and produced superstars like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Elton John and Celine Dion, to name a few. Throw in nine seasons as a judge on American Idol, and it's no wonder that Randy Jackson is one of the music industry's top dogs.
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.'"
When he's not searching for the next American Idol, Randy's scouring the streets for the newest dance sensation for MTV's Emmy-nominated Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew. During Season 4, more than 68 million viewers watched dance groups flip, spin and play with fire on their way to the grand prize. The winners? The women of We Are Heroes.
Randy, who is the show's executive producer, has a soft spot for dance crews. As a high school freshman, he wanted to join one but had two left feet. "I tried to pose like I was part of a crew," he says. "I really couldn't get my groove on."
Once he saw the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Los Angeles, he knew there had to be a show about these crews. " They have such love and such camaraderie and unity that I just wanted to expose the world to this phenomenon that's happening in America that we've forgot that we've born here," he says. "I just love that it gives these kids a chance to express themselves."