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Randy Jackson Talks Simon Cowell Rumors, Paula Abdul

American Idol judge and music producer Randy Jackson is getting a little sick of hearing about rumors of Simon Cowell departing from the hit reality show. Calling it a “distraction,” Jackson said he’d rather focus on the actual show and finding the next superstar talent rather than focusing on “wild” rumors.

Asked if the British curmudgeon would depart from the show at the end of his contract, Jackson shrugged. “I really don’t know until I hear it from him…The rumors get so wild and crazy, you just don’t know what to believe,” says Jackson. “It is pretty much a distraction. I think people get a little side-tracked with that…Let’s also focus on what we are judging and what the actual heartbeat of the show really is, and it is about finding that next superstar talent.”

Rumors have been spreading like a wildfire over the possibility that Cowell will leave American Idol at the end of 2010, per Simon’s brother Tony via his podcast . This, along with a proposed U.S. entry of the U.K.’s  X-Factor, may cause problems for ratings of the longtime television program.

During this ninth season of the America’s most-watched show, gone will be long-time judge and pop star Paula Abdul who quit the post amid contract negotiations. Jackson went on to say that Abdul will be missed. “She is one of our best friends,” said the music producer. “I miss that. We look down the table sometimes and think, ‘Where’s Paula?’. It’s going to take a little getting used to. We’re really sad about that.”

Outstanding comedian and daytime talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, will replace Abdul during the Hollywood round of the show, which begins taping next week. Those episodes are expected to air sometime in February.

Jackson added: “Ellen is funny, very charismatic and really cool…I think she will bring expertise from being a fellow entertainer who has been hugely successful. I think she will give the home viewer a real voice on the panel.”

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