Just when American Idol fans thought they were rid of departing judge Randy Jackson once and for all, it is now being reported that the longest-running judge in the show’s history is poised to return.

But he won’t be a judge, will he? No — instead, according to Deadline, he’s in talks to become the in-house mentor for season 13. If all goes according to plan, he’ll likely replace record executive Jimmy Iovine, who has held the position for the past three seasons.

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Jimmy leaving the show may end up leaving two different voids. One, this means there won’t be a record producer involved with Idol onscreen. However, if a deal can be reached with Dr. Luke to become the third judge next to Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez (who is expected to announce her return this week), that will solve this issue as he is a music producer and would be able to give much-needed insight into what works for an artist and what doesn’t.

And two, does this mean Jimmy’s Interscope Records won’t be involved with the show anymore? It’s unclear at this point, though maybe Dr. Luke can step in and help out in this area if that ends up being the case.

But there’s also a third void that’s more important than the other two: the voice of honesty. When Simon Cowell left, Jimmy essentially replaced him as the one that dished out blunt and honest critiques and comments to the contestants. But with him gone, what now? Again, let’s hope Dr. Luke can be the answer to that problem as well.

Kevin Reilly, head of FOX Entertainment, said at the TCA summer press tour earlier this month that Randy “will be back in some capacity. He is a friend of the show, and certainly guest spots [are real possibilities].” But as a mentor, he would be appearing on Idol pretty much every week during the live shows, much more than just “guest spots.”

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This is sort of deja vu for Randy Jackson in a way: late last summer, he was demoted from being a judge to being a mentor. But just days later, he was back in as a judge after a deal fell through to hire Enrique Iglesias. Could this scenario happen again if a deal can’t be reached with Dr. Luke? Only time will tell. They could even bring Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun on board for the third spot. A source told Us Weekly, “Jennifer [Lopez] loves Scooter and feels he’d be an excellent choice. She would love him to be a judge.”

Back in May, Randy announced his departure from Idol, saying in a statement, “After 12 years of judging on American Idol I have decided it is time to leave after this season. 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.”

While nothing’s official yet, are you excited about Randy returning to American Idol, but in a mentoring role this time? Or should Jimmy Iovine stick around?

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(Image courtesy of WENN)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.