Hollywood Week hasn’t yet been filmed so judge Randy Jackson can’t tell us how the four judges are working together. But he can tell us what the guest judges were like and what he looks for in a contestant.

randy jackson 400 'American Idol': Randy Jackson on Ellen DeGeneres, the end of 'Idol' and moreOn the audition cities

I gotta tell you for me, Orlando was really strange. Just in terms of the talent and who came out and what was going on there. It was a little strange. Dallas was good, surprisingly Atlanta was really good (I’m saying “surprisingly” because that’s the hometown of Ryan Seacrest) [laughs]. Nah, just playin’. I actually think Atlanta was one of the stand-outs and Dallas was strong as well.

On the contestants

The last couple seasons boys have won and I’m going, “Dude, where are the girls?” I think there’s some really talented girls that showed up this time and what changes the show year to year are the contestants we get.

This year you would’ve thought a lot more Adam Lambert and Kris Allen types would’ve showed up but that’s not what happened this year. We’ve got some real bona fide stand-in-your-shoes singers.

On the guest judges

Victoria Beckham: I gave her the nickname “Lady V.”

Mary J. Blige’s intimidation factor: She wasn’t that tough, but Mary is a serious stand-in-your-shoes-performer. She’s not a performer that is gonna use a lot of props to make you enjoy the show better. You are really just going to enjoy her voice. A lot of kids who came in know that. It was a good thing for these kids to step up and rev up to.

ellen degeneres 180 'American Idol': Randy Jackson on Ellen DeGeneres, the end of 'Idol' and moreOn new judge Ellen DeGeneres

She’s great, I’ve known her for quite some time. She’s a great friend. We’re going to have a lot of laughs. Welcoming Ellen to the fold is a good look. She’s funny, she’s charismatic, she’s really cool. She will give the at-home viewer a real voice on the judges panel.

On Simon and the rumors of his departure

He’s not really “mean.” I love his phrase “I don’t mean to be rude,
but…” He’s honest from his perspective. Sometimes it’s a bit harsh,
but some people call that real. I don’t know if he’s meaner than he’s
ever been and I’m not sure I would call it mean, I would call it very

I really don’t know [about Simon leaving]. Until I really hear it from him, I’m not going to believe anything. The thing I’ve been saying is we have an exciting season going on with the show and I’m just looking forward to the season.

On departed judge Paula Abdul

I talked to her a couple days ago, we speak all the time. She was one of our best friends and she still is. I miss that.

On the fame “Idol” brings undiscovered talent

I think “Idol” … captures the moment for those that can’t. This show is definitely a rocket ship to the top. Even though it’s still immensely difficult because you’re in front of 25-30 million people a night and you have them judging you and you have us judging you, but it’s the rocket ship to the top.

Is it the only rocket ship to the top? No. But for those that need this boost, those who didn’t have it all together, these people that never would’ve been discovered in a small town where you don’t have a hit song and that exposure. We’re very blessed and very proud of every single one of them.

On Adam Lambert and Kris Allen

Adam is a giant personality, he’s unbelievably talented. The AMA thing was something that he wanted to do and try. He’s a far bigger personality than Kris but I think they’re both equally talented. Kris won for a reason. You also got Allison, she’s got her record out too. I wish them all well and the best, they are immensely talented.

randy jackson 200 'American Idol': Randy Jackson on Ellen DeGeneres, the end of 'Idol' and moreOn the possible end of “Idol”

I think Idol is the best show of its kind ever, I think it can go on quite a long time. I don’t know when the end is. I haven’t really thought about my end for it. I’m contracted for a couple more seasons and it’s really hard to predict, but I think the show can really go on for a long time.

On what he looks for in a contestant

I’m looking for the Big 3 — you gotta have undeniable talent, you gotta have something that makes you unique and you gotta have some star persona.

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Photo credit: FOX

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."