Speculation has been going on for several weeks (even months) on the future of Randy Jackson on American Idol.  Today marks the end of a 10-year/11-season run for Jackson on the judges panel for the FOX hit show.

Rumors were stirring up early this morning, and now numerous reports have come out that the last original judge on Idol is stepping down as FOX takes the judging into a new era and direction.  With Mariah Carey in place with Nicki Minaj, it's hard to say where exactly the judging direction is going.  Add in the rumor that Keith Urban is about to step on board and what you have is a complete face-lift for sure!

The new season on Idol will miss Jackson's steady presence on the panel.  Randy was the perfect complement to Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul - as they got stronger, the show got stronger with the talent.  The changes over the years on the judges table did not throw Jackson - he was the person who always gave you what you expected.

Randy could tell you your "pitchy", then go "Yo Dog!" and give you the boost or advice the singers needed.  Jackson is one of a kind, and Idol is smart to try to retain him in some capacity.

Rumor is that Randy Jackson will become a mentor to the finalists this season - a role that he should nail with his music background and his personality.

Every great show has to change in the wake of competition and people's personal tastes - American Idol is no different.  The hope here is that they have the right people in place for the new season, but not seeing Randy Jackson at the judge's table the first time this coming season will be an empty feeling at first that you hope to recover from.