Randy Jackson may get Steve Perry on American Idol, interview
By April MacIntyre Feb 6, 2012, 2:06 GMT
Perry may come to Idol - Randy Jackson - © Claudio Uema / PR Photos
FOX hit series "American Idol's" Randy Jackson is the Dawg, the OG judge and senior member of the panel that includes J-Lo and Steven Tyler.
Over the years Jackson has brought his game to higher levels by giving insider producer notes and musician's advice, helping the contestants understand where they stumbled and where they shine.
With the St. Louis auditions behind us for "American Idol" - we now see the brutal Hollywood rounds start this week.
Randy Jackson spoke to Monsters and Critics on a conference call and shared what's to come.
Monsters and Critics: We know that you go all over the country - are there areas of the country more musically rich for you, for your ears, if you feel like there’s hotbeds of talent? Curious if you had an opinion.
R. Jackson Well, let me say, it’s called American Idol and I think America is just chock full of a lot of talent.
You know, no, it is, because you couldn’t have three of these kinds of shows on the air at the same time or at different times of the year, because they all need contestants. In the end, there’s a lot of talk about the judges, who the judges are, what the judges do. But in the end, it’s about your talent. It’s about the talent that you have to become successful.
Knock on wood, Scotty McCreery’s records— platinum now and this is … from last year. So, he’s doing quite well, because platinum today is selling ten million records seven years ago. But, I’m going to say, me being from the south—I love the south and I love the Midwest. I love those kind of more homespun areas. That’s what I really, really love, but look there’s amazing talent we found in San Diego. There’s amazing talent we found in Jersey, New York, Boston. I mean, there’s just amazing talent everywhere. But of course, I will always give some big ups for the south where I’m from.
M&C: What about your friend, Steve Perry? Will he be back or will he ever be sitting as the guest judge after his legendary career with Journey?
R. Jackson He and I have joked about that from time to time. About every couple of months we’ll grab a breakfast and catch up. He’s doing amazing. I know he’s working on some new music. The guys’ just God’s gift to voice. He’s one of the best in the world ever. I don’t know. We always joke about him going on as a guest judge. So, you never know.
On remembering specific people who did in fact make it to Hollywood from the Houston, Texas try-outs.
R. Jackson We remember Wendy because she tried out a bunch of times for the show and I actually had a lot of fun. We actually did those Houston auditions in Galveston. They initially were in Houston, the big call, and we judged in Galveston, which was amazing. I hadn’t been there in a long time since I was a kid, because I’m from the south, from Louisiana, as you know.
We had a good time. It was very interesting. There were a lot of characters for us this time in Houston, because we hadn’t been back to Houston in some years since I think it was the last time we were there some contestant poured water in Simon’s face, or whatever. But, we always have fond memories of them. Wendy Taylor, I really specifically remember, because she auditioned a couple of times.
She was definitely ready and pumped for it. She did very well in that audition I remember.
On speaking with Paula regarding the X-Factor shake-up:
R. Jackson I have not spoken to Paula. We texted back and forth. It’s sad to hear about all that’s going on with that show, but all of those people are dear friends of mine as you know and let me just say this.
Idol started with me, Simon, Ryan and Paula and that’s what really brought us to our prominence. So those people are in my life forever, because we did something very unique and we had a chemistry that we lucked out with.
I think when you do these shows with any kind of judging panel, what you’re really looking for is that chemistry, and we lucked out with it on Idol and we lucked out again with Steven and Jennifer.
Ryan and I sat down with them before we did anything with them and we had dinner together and it just clicked, minutes in, because we all knew each other for a long time. I think we just all have a kind of a common interest. We see it differently, but that’s a good thing, but I also it’s really about having that chemistry. Do you know what I mean?
On why the ratings are down this season:
R. Jackson Listen, Idol is in its eleventh season. It’s still the number one show on television, not by the huge margins it was before, but just in the term of time and also, what I think now is I think the space of singing shows is definitely a little crowded right now.
They’re on year-round now with us, The Voice and X-Factor and there’s even singing on Got Talent. So you got a lot of singing. So that’s what happens when your marketplace gets full. You know what I mean?
On The Voice being in their ratings space:
R. Jackson Listen, I’m sure they’ll have huge numbers after the Super Bowl. I think any show after the Super Bowl will have huge numbers. Listen, they’ve got a great show and I think there’s room for everyone out there, ... you will see.
On creative changes for the new season?
R. Jackson We have a couple of little wrinkles that we’re going to throw in, because I think it’s always about finding ways to make it better. One of the things that we’ve been tossing and tossing around and we’ll get some ideas it is that judges save thing. You know what I mean? Because last season we said Casey was at the right time because it was the right person to do that with, but I certainly wished we had another one or two because it didn’t serve the rest of the team well. Do you know what I mean?
On Mariah Carey as a judge for the X-Factor:
R. Jackson Yes, she’d be amazing. I manage her and of course I’m going to say that, but she’d be amazing. I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen or whatever, but I think there are quite a few people. Look, Simon’s one of the smartest people I know. I’m sure he’s got some very interesting ideas up his sleeve.
On Jennifer Lopez's personal life and work:
R. Jackson She’s very cool. She’s very professional. She comes to work and she comes to work. She’s doesn’t carry anything with her. But I must say, her and Steven, this being the second season, you’ll see Hollywood week starting next week. We put these kids through the paces and we’re a little tougher. All of them were a little tougher on these kids. We were challenging them a lot more.
As far as the judging goes, which is what I can really speak about and what their role is on the show, I think they both really, really settled in. I think we’re in a real groove now.
On the speculation about Ryan Seacrest leaving:
R. Jackson Listen, this show can go on for quite a number of years. I think and hope and wish and pray that Ryan is definitely going to be there because as I said, somewhat earlier, he and I, Simon and Paula started this thing and I can’t imagine doing the show without him. I don’t think anyone else could either. He’s the best at what he does. It’s hard to find these hosts that can really wrangle all of us and do all of the stuff that needs to be done.
Yes, I think I will be there for a while; at least, I contract there for a while now. Listen, you never know what the future brings. Both Ryan and I are working on ideas together. We’re working on ideas separately. There’s a lot of territory out there still to explore: TV, … shows, … movies, … everything. Who knows, maybe I’ll become the next Brad Pitt or something and just be like a leading man. That’s what I always wanted to be—the leading man.
On a preview of the New York area talent:
R. Jackson You hear us say this every year and everybody always gets on us about it that the talent’s better every year. I think what’s happening now with these shows, because there’s so many of these shows on the air—I think the talent that we’re getting is very different and very unique now which I’m loving, loving, loving. I think last season we had Casey, we had Haley, we had the two country ones that won. We had a little bit of everything. We had like a rocker flavor—but more of a heavier rocker flavor in James Durbin.
So, we’re getting more of that this year and I think the talent this time in that Jersey thing was very, very interesting. I think they’re some cool people. You know what I mean? Really cool people.
On the passing of Don Cornelius:
R. Jackson What Don was to urban music and just black people and just music in general, dude, other than the great Berry Gordy, Don is right next to him. The nicest guy in the world. Always did it with a smile, always loved music, loved people, helped me, helped everyone I know in their career. So, I’m just really, really sad about that. One of the greatest ever I’m telling you, in this business that we’re here and to be able to do it with a smile and do it with some kindness.
By putting all of the acts that I was in on this show, by having any acts when I was A and R guy at Columbia records or MCA Records would call him and say, “Hey, yo! I need my actor on Soul Train, man. I need to put him on.” He helped. He would just do it. To get TV exposure, just, my God, amazing, amazing guy.
On Mariah, and possibly objecting to her going on the X-Factor:
R. Jackson Look, I mean, she’s her own person. She can, of course, do whatever she wants and she always will do that. Of course not. Simon is one of my dearest friends in the world, so of course not.
On details about the challenges coming up in Hollywood week:
R. Jackson Well, listen. We kind of switched it up a little bit because it makes more fun for us every year and it brings a little tougher challenge to the kids. That’s all I’ll say about that. But, let me just say this—you will see—I don’t think we’ve had a tougher, more challenging Hollywood week ever. There were tons of people fainting and passing out. It was crazy. I think, always we want to turn it up a little bit for these kids. This is not yet singing, but we want to challenge you. If you are great, come on, show us at every turn you’re great. What about this? What about that? Try this. Try that. Do you know what I mean? It was kind of weird, but you know, look, it just shows the intensity of what’s going on.
On what makes a contestant stand out:
R. Jackson The criteria always is kind of the same for finding and discovering and bringing to America amazing talent. Are you unique? Do you have any star quality and is your voice amazing or unique? Whether it’s a Mariah Carey voice or Bob Dylan voice or a Dave Matthews voice or a Beyoncé voice or Rihanna or Katie Perry, or whatever—what stands out about you? I think those things are always the same.
What I do and what I say always changes, because we grow and we evolve a little bit. I might not be saying this year are you in it to win it. I think that one’s been retired. That was last season, man. It’s so last season.
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