Randy Jackson Reflects on Legacy of 'American Idol' and His New Show 'Name That Tune' (Exclusive)
By Mona Khalifeh
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Randy Jackson is reflecting on the legacy of American Idol, 20 years after the singing competition series premiered. ET's Kevin Frazier spoke to Jackson about the show and what it means to have it still on air today.
"We did it from the beginning, before anybody knew the show would be a success, so, when people all talk about -- you know success has many fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers," Jackson began before giving props to the show's current judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
"I just tip my hat off to the show and to the legacy of the brand, and Katy, Lionel, and Luke, you guys are killing the game trying to keep it alive. I love it," he continued.
While it's been a while since it was Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell at the judges' table, Jackson said he still remembers the moment he knew the show would be a hit.
"One of my favorite memories is when Kelly [Clarkson] won the very first season, because that's when I realized that the show was really going to work," Jackson shared. "I mean it was meager beginnings, y'all. We started from the bottom now we're here."
He continued, "I mean I'm like -- I'm sitting there at the finale like, 'All these people voted? She's singing great. She's singing 'A Moment Like This.' I really felt it in that moment, that it was going to work."
The show is not the only thing that has continued 20 years later, some of Jackson's signature catchphrases are still used to today including, "It's a no for me, dog."
From the catchphrases to its lasting legacy, Jackson told ET there's no show like Idol.
"The greatest ever of any kind, to me," Jackson said. "I mean nothing like it before, nothing like it after, and there's a bunch to try and copy, and to duplicate and imitate, but yo, you never beat the OG."
While the show helped discover lots of talent, from Clarkson and Carrie Underwood to Ruben Studdard and Jennifer Hudson, Jackson did admit that feels he and his fellow judges missed out on a few talented singers back in the day.
"I feel like we missed a little bit on Jennifer Hudson, even though she’s gone on to do well. I felt like we missed a bit on Tamyra Gray. Tamyra was such a great singer, and such a great talent," he said. "I always think there’s some that we miss on -- I mean it's tough, you're not going to get them all. You only really need one per season."
While Jackson and Abdul will soon be backing an appearance on American Idol, these days, Jackson is hosting a different kind of music competition series, Name That Tune -- alongside funny woman, Jane Krakowski.
The remake of the 1970s game show has Jackson as the band leader, testing celebrity contestants' ability to correctly identify the title of songs based on a quick snippet -- often performed by the record exec on the keyboard.
Jackson told ET that he's often shocked by how hard it is for the show's celebrity contestants to put a name to the song's he's playing.
"It always does," Jackson said with a laugh. "And I see them mouthing the words, Kevin. They're mouthing the words to themselves, but they still can't exactly, correctly, name the title of the song."
"We give them a little leeway now, with the celebrity version because they're playing for their charities," he added.
As for who he'd love to play the game, Jackson is hoping Halle Berry would try her hand at the game.
"I want to see Halle Berry come on and play," Jackson suggested. "I think Halle knows some music. Halle if you're out there, come on and play. I want to see Halle play against Brad Pitt."
Name That Tune airs Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET on Fox.