After 12 years of countless auditions, performances and lots of drama involving the judges themselves, "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson is leaving the show, saying his long stint had run its course.
When the longest-tenured judge announced his departure from America's stage earlier this month, rumors rapidly ran wild. But Jackson confirms to ABC News' Bianna Golodryga that he was not forced out, nor was he kicked off the show.
Golodryga caught up with Jackson at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., where he's meeting the troops and donating guitars from his HSN guitar collection.
"You know, a bit of what I've done on 'Idol' for 12 seasons is that same sort of thing. I love inspiring people," said Jackson.
His response begged the question of why, then, Jackson would give up being on the show now.
"I don't think it's a 'Why give it up now?" Jackson said. "I just think that I've been through a lot of iterations of the show."
"If you think back 12 seasons ago when it was you, Paula, Simon, did you ever think that that sort of bond and chemistry was possible on television?" Golodryga asked.
Jackson's answer was simple: "We got so lucky. Anybody that says that they knew that this show was going to be a hit, knew that we were going to gel together is lying. None of us really knew. We hit the jackpot."
He added, "It was definitely a little hard to take" when the original judging group disbanded, "Because we rode to the dance together. And we made the dance what the dance was."
He also avoided the question of whether Abdul and Simon were ever anything more than friends.
"Paula and Simon, you must be getting ready for the book I'm planning to write," Jackson joked. "Listen, I think Paula and Simon, it was never anything there. But you know, we often had fun. It was almost, like, I call 'Idol' a romper room for adults."
It was that early romper that helped make the show the most-watched program on television week after week. But in recent seasons, the 'Idol' ratings have dropped by double digits.
Over the 12-year span, Jackson has shared the panel with a total of nine different judges.
"I really have always felt that people made too much of the judges and not enough of the talent," said Jackson.
And as for what's next for "The Dog," he said, "I may be on some other shows. You never know."