It’s been 18 years, but Randy Jackson still isn’t over Jennifer Hudson‘s season three American Idol elimination. In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight promoting his modern musical TV venture, Name That Tune, the 65-year-old entrepreneur reflected on how America sending Hudson home in 7th place was definitely not tight, dawg.
“I feel like we missed a little bit on Jennifer Hudson, even though she’s gone on to do well,” Jackson, who originally judged Idol with Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, told the publication. “I felt like we missed a bit on Tamyra Gray. Tamyra was such a great singer, and such a great talent. 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.”
Though the record producer hasn’t been an Idol judge in years — season 12 was his last at the table — he did take a moment to praise its current panel of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. “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,” he said. “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.”
Jackson also spoke about what it was like building the show from the ground up, including the moment he knew it 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,” he said. “I mean, it was meager beginnings, y’all. We started from the bottom, now we’re here.”
“I mean, I’m like — I’m sitting there at the finale like, ‘All these people voted?” he added.
Since Idol was created, myriad similar singing competition shows have emerged in its wake, from Simon Cowell’s X-Factor to The Voice, where, in what is something like a full circle story, Kelly Clarkson is currently a coach. But Jackson doesn’t think any of those programs hold a candle to its predecessor.
“The greatest ever of any kind, to me,” he said of Idol. “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.”