Randy Jackson Interviewed — Part 2

     January 9, 2007

Due to the length of thisinterview I had to break it up into two parts…here is part 2. If you missed part 1 then click here.

Jeanne I enjoyed meeting you in San Antonio.

Randy Yes. We liked San Antonio.

Jeanne Really? Did you find anybody special there?

Randy Let’s see, special is a very big word.

Jeanne You did mention when you were here that youkind of missed the fact that there weren’t that many Latin pop artist from thisAztec country, was your quote. I wasjust wondering is there anybody in your mind though that has stood out from San Antonio

Randy Yes. I think there were somereally good people in San Antonio. I think that we were looking for more of that… thing since we know that it’s, as you say, that whole Aztec country, but Ithink there were some equally really, really good people there. I think it’s the first time that we’d beenthere, so we had some expectations and I think it turned out really goodactually.

Jeanne So we have some hope, huh?

Randy There is hope for San Antonio.

Jeanne Could you tell me, since we were one of theaudition cities, is there an order of audition shows from each city, so I canjust tell them, “Make sure you tune in pronto.”?

Randy That I wouldn’t know actually. I don’t know. You’d probably haveto check with Fox to find out that or check with the publicist or something.

Jeanne Is there anything that’s different about theshow … just a little tweak of it?

Randy Simon is going to die his hair red.

Jeanne And you’re going to dress in lime green.

Randy No. I think now, since I was going to do the Jedi think like GnarlsBarclay I think I’m going to do something different. I think I’m going to come in scrubs. I’m the new McDreamy.

Jeanne You certainly look alike. Randy, one more thing: What did you think of San Antonio just as a city?

Randy I actually loved it. I’vebeen there a bunch of times over the years. A really, really cool place. I’m a Spurs fan.

Jeanne All right. Even over LA?

Randy No, not over LA. Comeon. The Lakers rule, lady.

Jeanne I appreciate it, Randy. Thank you.

Moderator Thank you. Next we have Kelly Jane Cotter with TheAsbury Park Press.

Kelly I wanted to know what you thought thecontestants have learned from each other over the years and whether theendurance of the show makes them a little bit more savvy and a little bit moreprepared or whether they still come in like newborn lambs and very raw.

Randy It’s funny you say that because every season I think they get alittle bit more savvy. I think that’swhat I was saying earlier to someone is that, but somehow the people from thesouth still keep it honest and real and the Midwest. They’re not as savvy, but I think a lot ofthese people watch and they go, “What did so-and-so do? What did they like that so-and-so did? I’m going to follow that and copy that. You liked it when so-and-so did it.” As if this is the way to kind of get through. Do you know what I mean?

Kelly Right.

Randy I think we see a lot of that happening, I think,unfortunately. There is a lot of goodinformation given by us three judges on the show and I think people should takethat more to heed and listen to more of what we have to say in our comments tothe kids. They’ll learn way more fromthat than anything, whether they’re on the show or not.

Kelly What’s the advice that people most ignorethat you wish they wouldn’t?

Randy Song choice, song choice, song choice. Understand who you are, because what you tellme as a judge when you sing a song that’s way too big for you, you tell me youhave no idea how good you are and what you sing best, so you just told me youhave no idea what you’re doing. I’mgoing to imagine that almost every time you’re going to pick the wrong song foryou. Do you know what I mean?

Kelly Yes. Thank you very much.

Mari Randy, I want to come back to the badsingers for just a second. That’s been amainstay, but when I spoke with Nigel and Ken they said that they were kind oftrying to rid the show of the riffraff, so where are you guys drawing the line?

Randy I think you’re still going to get some of that through because wesee a cross section of everyone and it’s hard to just stamp that completelyout, but I think if someone walks in the door and they’re in this weirdcostume there was the gondolier one season in Vegas you just go, “Okay, doyou believe that you really have talent or are you here just for the buffooneryof it all?” Do you know what Imean? I think we’re trying to draw theline somewhat there. Do you know whatI’m saying?

Mari Yes.

Randy If you come dressed as a tin man I’m going to go, “You’re not asinger.”

Mari You think?

Randy Yes.

Mari I wanted to ask you about the concerns toothat you may or may not have. You’ve gotthis song competition going on at the same time, so how do you feel aboutthat? What do you think it will do interms of possibly diminishing the impact of the actual competition?

Randy Right. I don’t know if itwill diminish the impact or whatever. Ithink great songs are still hard to find. I wish everyone luck in either writing or whoever is going to submit outthere or whatever. I think it’s really,really hard. I mean I’m a songwritermyself, so I know how hard it really, really is.

Mari Lastly, I wanted to ask you. Last night You’re the One That I Wantpremiered.

Randy What show is that?

Mari Yes, right.

Randy No, what show is that?

Mari Seriously? It’s the competition show for Grease where …

Randy Do you mean another kind of copy Idol show? Wow! Another one.

Mari Yes. Well, I was going to ask you about that because, coincidentally, thereare three judges, including a snotty English man.

Randy You must be kidding. Comeon.

Mari No.

Randy Isn’t it funny? See, thisshows you there’s not a lot of originality, is there?

Mari No, not really, but I’m wondering how youfeel when you hear about it? I mean itdidn’t do great last night, but it didn’t go bad either.

Randy Here’s what I said earlier to someone. I really honestly mean this. Me, being a musician and being a recordproducer and a songwriter and everything that I do and being up for … Grammysthis year, thank God, for two records that I made, here’s the deal: If you’re the first and you’re original you…. The copies, as there get to be two,three, four, five, six, seven of them, will never be as well. I mean it just never really quite works tome. That’s just to me. If I were doing a show, I definitely wouldn’thave three judges and have an English guy and have it be just like Idol. I just don’t know. It just tells me that I guess a lot ofnetworks don’t have a lot of originality.

Mari Yes. What are you going to be doing Grammy night?

Randy I’m going to be praying and hoping that the song that I did withSam Moore and the late, great Billy Preston, and Eric Clapton, and Zuccherowins. I’m also going to be praying thatthe song I did with Van Hunt, Josh Stone, and Josh Legend wins.

Mari And you’re going to vote for yourself,right?

Randy And I’m voting for myself, man.

Mari Atta guy. Thank you very much.

Janice Randy, as you know, North Carolina has been really, really wellrepresented on Idol. Like Birmingham, I guess wehave that expectation that there will be someone. Can you tell me?

Randy Well, listen, I mean I think that area has definitely done America anditself very proud. As I said to theperson from Birmingham,I think that you guys will definitely be represented. I don’t know if I can saythe winner, but it’s going to be a little different this season, I think, asfar as where the winner comes from.

Janice I wanted to ask you if you will give thisopinion: Of all of the people who havebeen on the show, winners or not, do you have a favorite?

Randy I think what comes to mind really quickly is my two favoritesprobably hands down are Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia.

Janice Yes. Are you in touch with either one of them?

Randy I see Kelly from time to time and I see Fantasia from time totime. She sang a duet on the Sam Moorealbum that I produced about six months ago. Yes, I see them quite often. Isee all of them quite often. Those twogirls’ voices are just amazing and I’m really pleased and happy what’s happenedwith Jennifer Hudson and how she’s kept her career and her life going and howshe’s blossoming now. I think it’sgreat.

Janice One more thing: If you could have been in charge, rather thanthe voting audience, is there any winner you would have changed?

Randy No. I think the public hasgotten it right every time. I believe inAmerica.

Janice Thank you so much, Randy.

Amy I was going to ask you: There were lots of records that came out oflast season and now Paris Bennett debuted her first single off her new recordlast week on Twin Cities Radio. I wasjust wondering if you’ve heard her record or what do you think of her futureand the rest of all of the records that came out of last season.

Randy I think that she’s got a bright future. I mean Pariswas a very talented girl on the show. Ithink she just needed a little bit more seasoning, just a little bit moreexperience for me. I haven’t heard therecord. I wish her well. I think she’s definitely got a bright shot ata great future. I’ve heard some of the records. I haven’t heard all of them. Ithink Chris Dautry made a really good record. I like Ruben’s single, the song “Change Me” I thought was good. I heard a little bit of Taylor’s record. I think I heard the single on some TVshow. I thought that was good. Whether these records will become huge forthem, it goes back to how great the songs are. I’m not sure I heard songs that were going to propel them into somegreat sales stratosphere, which is the measure in the record industry ifsomething is great or not.

Amy Who’s record do you think has been the bestso far?

Randy Listen, all you’ve got to do is you can look at the past idols andyou can tell who’s done the best. KellyClarkson’s done the best hands down. Imean her last record sold ten million copies. What that says to me is that she hit her public square on the bulls eye,so people believed her. They loved thesongs. She had great songs. I think that song “Breakaway” is a careerrecord. I think “Breakaway” is the bestsong ever recorded by any idol to date on any record.

Amy Really? Cool.

Randy To date. That song is acareer record. That song is a truecopyright in the words of Clive Davis, who is always telling me aboutcopyrights. There are very fewcopyrights and that song is a real copyright. Kelly has definitely done her thing.

Amy Right. My last question for you is when the Twin Cities watches the Minneapolis auditions onTV are we going to have more to be proud of or embarrassed of?

Randy I think it will be a balanced, Zen-like scale. The ying and yang will go back and forth. As many links as you have, you have that manyemotions.

Amy Good. Good. Thank you.

Lorilee Randy, I wanted to know, there’s been a lotof talk on this call about Jennifer Hudson with Jennifer and with other idolswhat does it mean to you personally when someone kind of unsung like thattotally rises to the top and just goes for it? What does that mean to you personally?

Randy It makes me very, very happy because I think that, listen, shedefinitely is really talented. It showsme that she’s got the perseverance to keep going and keep fighting for herdream. I mean, listen, it’s true ifyou’ve got the talent and you keep your nose to the grind, one day, somewhereit’s going to happen for you. I’m justso happy and she’s proof that it can still happen, whether you win or not.

Lorilee Yes. Ithink everyone is really proud of her, everyone who voted for her and rootedfor her. What quality do you think yousaw in her that made you pick her for the wildcard?

Randy I think that she’s a really, really naturally talented girl. I think for me it was just tough thatseason. We knew we had those three girlsthat were amazing singers. We had ourown Dream Girls. We had LaToya, who was great, and Fantasia, who’samazing.

Lorilee Yes.

Randy So we knew that one of those was going to last the time. I think after Fantasia did “Summertime” itwas all a wrap after that because she just blew the doors off and she was likea young, new Aretha, but the thing to me that’s really interesting that no onehas asked on the call is, I’ll tell you what, whoever cast Jennifer Hudson inthat role for the film is an absolute genius. Those people know what they’re doing because it’s the perfect, and Imean perfect, role for her. She is aBaptist church girl in a Baptist church girl’s role in a movie. She acted amazingly. It was like, “Oh, my God. Talk about perfect pairing.”

Lorilee Like a glove fit.

Randy Oh, my God. That’s why it’sso great, because it’s exactly who she is.

Lorilee Excellent. Have a wonderful year, Randy.

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Kira Randy, I can’t ask about anybody from thisarea because I don’t think you’ve been here yet to good, old, central PA. I think I’m going to take it back to the lesstalented people, shall we say. Do youfind that you get sort of less of that these days or does it seem to always bea consistent?

Randy No. Listen, I think you havea great competition that you can become a celebrity overnight and get a hugerecord contract and become very rich and famous fast. I think you’re going to get a lot of peopleshowing up. You get the good and the badof it always. I mean the scaledefinitely tips both directions. Do youknow what I mean?

Kira I’m sure. I’m sure. Why do you think thosepeople are willing to set themselves up in such a way? I mean on national television and in front ofthe three of you. I mean it doesn’t getmuch more scrutiny than that.

Randy I’ll tell you, I think William Hung has helped a lot ofpeople. Really. I mean listen, the guy made a career out ofbeing just absolutely one of the worst.

Kira That’s true.

Randy I mean I don’t know. I don’tknow how. It’s amazing to me. I don’t know. I wouldn’t show up if I didn’t think that I had the talent, but …

Kira But what that must do to your ego.

Randy … different in their heads. They’re hearing something different in their heads I’m convinced.

Kira I guess so. What that must do to your ego I can’timagine.

Randy I …, dude.

Kira Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.

Richard Randy, there’s a story in AdAge today talkingabout Fremantle and expanding the marketing of American Idol, perhaps having atheme park ride and candy bars and ice cream.

Randy I like that, like the Wonka Bar.

Richard That’s right. The Randy Bar.

Randy Yes.

Richard I mean how much of this stuff do you think youcan do? Do you ever get worried thatthere’s a point where it’s too much that it takes away from the show?

Randy No. I mean, listen, I thinkIdol is definitely a huge brand. I thinkthat I can see people are trying to leverage the brand. We don’t have anything to do with that, but Idon’t think so. I think Idol is a showabout talent finding, so I think as long as we find great talent all of thosethings will sustain themselves.

Richard So you’re a supporter of the Idol perfume?

Randy No. I have my own perfumeI’m going to put out and I think Simon’s got one coming out called TheStinker.

Richard What’s yours called?

Randy The Love Potion.

Richard Thank you, Randy.

Amanda Everybody has taken all of myquestions I was going to ask and I don’t think you’ve ever been to Connecticut for auditions, although I think somebody fromNew Brittan might have been at the Seattleauditions, so I’m kind of sparse. I’mjust going to ask you, you said Kelly and Fantasia were your two standouts fromthe time you’ve been doing this. Whatmakes them standouts? What qualitiesmake them standouts?

Randy I just think that they both had the eye of the tiger. I think Kelly has gone on to great success,so I think she has really listened and really figured out who she is, becauseyou’re never going to be successful in the record business unless you know whoyou are. Therefore, you’re making theright records I hate to keep saying it the right songs for your public. That means if I’m an R&ampB singer Iprobably shouldn’t be doing rock songs because that public won’t be buying thatfrom me because they won’t believe it. It’s not honest and true. Kellyhas had huge success because she’s made the right records. I mean I love that. I think Fantasia, that version of“Summertime” still rings in my head. Ijust think I’m not sure she’s made all of the right records personally. I would make different records with her, mepersonally, but I just think that that performance just is the best Idolperformance that I can remember to date.

Amanda Thank you.

Daria Randy, I’m calling from Hyattsville, Maryland.

Randy All right.

Daria My only question to you is between SimonCowell being a go-for-the-jugular type of judge and Paula being alet-them-down-easy judge where do you think you fit in?

Randy I will stand that I am definitely the voice of reason.

Daria Definitely. You’re kind of cool. You’re laidback, but I always respect your point of view. I can’t take bad talent. I justcan’t take that. I’m a music lover and… go-go, live instruments …

Randy I like that.

Daria Thank you, Randy.

Jeff Randy, I’ve got to agree with that lastcaller. You pretty much are the coolest judge on the show.

Randy Thanks, dude.

Jeff I’m not kissing up to you. You were here in Minneapolis for Idol auditions a few monthsback and you mentioned there was some good and some not-so-good talent. Any one person, good or bad, stand out thatwe can expect to see a lot of this season?

Randy Let me just say this that Minneapolis was very interesting, I meanit being the home of Prince, Jammin’ Louis, all of this great talent, PaulWesterberg. Aside of all of that it wasdefinitely really interesting. I don’t think any of us knew what to reallyexpect, but definitely enlightening. I’ll just say that.

Jeff Can you tell us this? Do you expect to see any Minnesotans make itto the end?

Randy I think a couple could actually, yes.

Jeff The last question: The finale last season was great. You mentioned Prince. Prince was on. That was huge. Can we expect the show to be even bigger andmore exciting this time around?

Randy Yes. I think, listen, wecontinuously have fun with it. I thinkKenny and Nigel and everyone did an amazing job producing that finale show lastyear and big … for them. Prince blewthe doors off. He is one of thequintessential ones of our times.

Jeff One more question: Anything stand out during your stay here in Minnesota?

Randy The lack of four seasons. No, I’m just kidding. Actually,we had a good time there. It got coldersooner than I thought though. I had tobuy a jacket.

Jeff It’s cold now. Thank you, Randy.

W Two more questions, please.

Larry Randy, getting back to Elliott, who’s alocal guy from Richmond,he hasn’t landed a recording contract yet. I wonder how that’s going to affect his career from this point on. Is that essential? What happens next?

Randy Well, that’s what I was saying earlier. You look at what’s happened to JenniferHudson. I mean she just landed a recorddeal, right? This was two seasons or threeseasons ago or something. I think it’sabout finding the right home and the people that really believe in you and thatreally want to guide your career. Ithink Elliott is going to be all right.

Larry Another question: Stepping back and looking at the wholephenomenon of American Idol, did ever in your mind, when you signed on to dothis show when nobody ever heard of it or knew what it was, could you ever havevisualized that this would have happened, that it would become what it istoday?

Randy No, I don’t think any of us really did. I mean I certainly did not. I mean I had noidea. I went into it kind of blind as abat. I went into it saying let’s seewhat happens. I knew that the recordindustry was in the toilet. I knew therecord industry needed something different and having just come out of it,being in it for 15 years in the A&ampR departments, I knew that there neededto be another, different kind of talent search. But we’re truly happy and unbelievably blessed and really, really luckyto … success.

Larry Thank you, Randy.

Amy I wanted to ask you how do you keep itinteresting for you after doing it now going into the sixth season. How do you not get bored with seeing so manyof the same types of singers over and over again? What keeps it interesting for you?

Randy I think singers are singers are singers. I think I’ve been doing it all of mylife. I think it’s always interesting tome and I’m always trying to find something that’s unique and different andgreat out there, so the quest never ends for us because we’re always hopefulthat this season we’re finding the next Sinatra or the next huge whatever. We’re always curious and interested. Do you know what I mean?

Amy Do you have in your mind somebody that gotaway, that just was voted off to soon and you haven’t heard from?

Randy I think a lot of people get voted off a little soon, but I thinksometimes during the course of the season, especially when it gets down to thetop seven or six people, I think America gets a little confused at times. I think when someone goes off every weekthose votes are going to go somewhere, so you never know where they’re going togo exactly. I think somebody falls inthe clutches there sometimes, but I think, as I said to someone earlier, America hasgotten it right every year. I think theright person has won every time.

Amy Is there anyone who’s just not pursued itthat you think should try to that you saw during the process, who we haven’theard from and has kind of dropped out of the music business that you thinkshould not have dropped out and should keep trying?

Randy Well, no. I mean the thingis that if you really are serious about this and you’ve got that kind ofpersistence and that kind of conviction, you’ll still be going and fighting andscratching and biting and trying to make it happen just like you see going onwith Jennifer Hudson now. I mean thatshows people that you don’t know when it’s going to happen, but you’re going tokeep your nose to the grind until it really does happen for you.

Amy How are all of the judges getting alongthis season? How are you guys doing?

Randy Fantastically, interestingly well.

Amy You and Paula, you and Simon, everyonegood?

Randy Yes. Listen, it’s alwaysinteresting because we don’t see each other for a while and then we get backtogether and do the show. It’s always alittle bit of a readjusting period and we go a little crazy on each othersometimes, but we each call each other crazy four or five times. That’s okay. It’s brothers and sisters. Comeon.

Amy Great. Thank you so much.

Moderator Thankyou. Do you have any final remarks, Mr.Jackson?

Randy I love America. James Brown was definitely the King ofSoul.

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