It’s official: Randy Jackson is out of the judges chair for next season!

Sources close to American Idol said that while he won’t be returning to the panel, he will still appear on camera in a "mentoring" role. And while big-wig execs for the show believe he will likely not be as good of a mentor as he is a judge, they feel it’s crucial to keep him around because he’s the glue that keeps everything together. Not only that, but TMZ revealed that the upcoming season might have four judges on the panel!

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For now, the plan is to include a country star in one of the seats. Brad Paisley and Keith Urban have been two of the names seriously kicked around as possibilities. And it looks Nicki Minaj is just about ready to be confirmed as the third judge for next season. While Mariah Carey reportedly isn’t too happy about this, the producers for the show don’t seem to care. They think the tension between her and Nicki will make for great ratings. If a fourth spot is added, it's unclear who the show would consider adding in.

So much drama before a single second of footage has been shot. We can only imagine what will happen when the cameras start rolling this season!

What do you think of Randy leaving the judging panel for American Idol?

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