Well, the gates to the Dawg Pound have officially been closed. (Or opened, whatever visual metaphor better represents the DP no longer being in business.) TMZ reports that Randy Jackson is indeed, as has long been rumored, out as judge for the upcoming 12th season of American Idol. Jackson, the last remaining judge from the show's original Randy-Paula-Simon panel, will now move into a mentorship role on the show, as Mariah Carey, who Jackson has managed for many years, slips into the judge's chair.
Of course, this leads to more questions than answers about the show's 12th season—a mystery compounded by TMZ's further reporting that the judging panel will expand to four chairs this year, and that while Nicki Minaj is 99% confirmed for the show, it's not final final super-final just yet. What's more, Diddy and Kanye, both previously under discussion for one of those chairs, are now officially out of the running, leaving two (and possibly three) of those positions up for grabs.
Crazy times on the Idol front, but we're not exactly sad to see Randy go—he served the show well for 11 seasons, but there was no teaching that old Dawg any new tricks. If new blood is the focus of this Idol season, may as well go for the complete overhaul. Let's hope Mariah is honing her namedropping skills in the meantime though—the void there will be considerable.