Randy Jackson's top 10 'American Idol' legacies

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Image Credit: Fox

Randy Jackson — who’s officially departing American Idol — gets a bad rep. Just look at him up there. Clearly he has the most productive things to say on the season 12 judging panel! Below, my half-assed tribute to an inflated animal balloon (the producers made me do it!):

Yo, You Feel Me? 10 Things Randy Jackson Always Did Beautifully #InItToWinIt

10. Created Catchphrases: It’s a Comeback Kid story for the ages: The Dawg somehow overcame a severely limited vocabulary to conjure up gorgeous nonsense words and phrases — “Pitchy!” “You can sing the phone book!” “Blow it out the box!” “For me, for you!” — that would flourish for years (due to Randy’s refusal to quit saying them).

9. Cared Early On? We’ve all gotta start somewhere! Against Simon’s bitterness and Paula’s permanent residence in Candy Land, the blindly enthusiastic Randy often seemed like the voice of reason during Idol‘s early years.

8. Affirmed Ryan Seacrest’s Existence: Hey, someone’s got to, Ryan! Ryan, these girls are IN IT TO WIN IT. Yo! Ryan. Yo. Yo. Ryan. Ryan. RYAN!

7. Dropped Names: If Randy didn’t mention every mentor or songwriter he’d worked with, those historical figures didn’t really exist. FOR ME.

6. Oversimplifiied Contestants: Randy was always the best at finger-painting these young singers with sloppy, sweeping splatters of his or the producers’ own undermining agenda: “I don’t want people to think, ‘There goes that church girl,'” he white-lied to Candice Glover, who has yet to sing a gospel song.

5. Characterized the Entire Series: The Dawg just had a way of summin’ it up! “I was like YO, where you going with all this music?” –Randy Jackson wondered aloud during the Top 4’s “Standards” round last week.

4. Looked Jazzed: “Aw, that guy is smiling! Good for him. Guess American Idol‘s still on.” — channel flipper

3. Yelped Incoherently: For me — for you? — I like a challenge. “Check it out, Dawg” was always a real mind-bender. Was Randy addressing us or himself? Were we dogs? I still don’t know. Randy also excelled at switching up perspective and crushing the pesky walls of gender specificity. “This girl is bold right here! She wants this! Dude, you delivered, man,” Randy told Jessica Sanchez in season 11. But for the most challenging and nutritious of Randy’s verbal garbage salads, let’s jump back to his critique of Phillip Phillips following his cover of Matchbox 20’s “Disease.”

This is a crazy moment. No, no, this is weird. People are always saying we all agree. Actually this time we all disagree, but we actually all agree again. I didn’t like it either. Here’s why. Here’s why! Here’s why. Here’s why here’s why. Here’s why. Just such a subdued moment from you and you do those things in your sleep. It was just okay.

I learned a lot.

2. Praised Himself: Too often, in the face of charismatic contestants, we might forget what this show is really about: the wealthy “This show made us rich, yo!” judges. “You can come from absolutely nothing and be something with your talent,” Randy told season 12 finalist Candice during the Judges’ Choice round of Wednesday’s performance show. Wait for it. “So KUDOS TO US!” And later on: “PROPS TO ALL OF US and you,” Randy told THE JUDGES and Kree.

1. Dressed Like a Clown

NEVER FORGET.

Did I leave any other great talents off the list? What will you miss about Randy? Be nice!

‘American Idol': Are the judges to blame for decline?

Read more:
Top 3 night: How the ladies REALLY felt about song choices
All ‘American Idol’ recaps on EW.com
Mariah Carey gets the Nicki Minaj phone call: An ‘Up Out My Face’ dramatization


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