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Randy Jackson: I’m leaving ‘American Idol’

Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson

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Updated: May 9, 2013 5:44PM

While it’s widely assumed the entire “American Idol” judging panel will be replaced next season, the expected change began Thursday with Randy Jackson’ s announcement he was leaving the hit show he’s helped judge since the beginning.

“To put all of the speculation to rest, after 12 years of judging on ‘American Idol,’ I have decided it is time to leave after this season,” the veteran music producer said in a statement. “I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life changing opportunity, but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures.”

Meanwhile, fellow judge

Nicki Minaj chatted with “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest on E! Thursday — carefully commenting on the rumors she, along with Mariah Carey and Keith Urban, will not be back for Season 13.

“That’s a million-dollar question,” said Minaj with a laugh. “I have to say this all the time, but I want people to know it’s genuinely from my heart: I love the people on ‘Idol.’ I genuinely do. If I had to do this all over again, I would have done ‘Idol.’ …

“I feel happy here and I have to thank them for giving me this chance. They could have picked anyone in the world and they picked me.”

My sources say it’s highly unlikely Minaj will be “picked” yet again. In fact, I’m hearing the show’s host, Seacrest himself, will be the only familiar face returning next year.

As for the buzz about

Jennifer Lopez reprising her role as an ‘Idol’ judge, that’s in doubt. “Idol” sources tell me J. Lo’s “stratospheric” salary demands are making it “highly unlikely” she’ll be back at the “Idol” judges’ desk.The “clean sweep” at “Idol” also reportedly will include executive producer

Nigel Lythgoe, another longtime show mainstay.

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