There's something missing from American Idol this season — 90 pounds of something to be exact. No, we're not referring to Paula Abdul's suspicious sick-outs. We're talking about Randy Jackson's dramatic weight loss as a result of gastric-bypass surgery. TV Guide Online recently got an up close look at the newly svelte TV judge during his recent PR stop in New York City. Naturally, we used the opportunity to get the skinny on the dawg's sizeable makeover, as well as his take on Boobygate, Justin Guarini and a certain national treasure we like to call Scooter Girl.
TV Guide Online: How has the stomach-shrinking surgery affected your eating habits?
Randy Jackson: Pretty drastically, because there's only so much you can eat. If you eat too much, you get sick. If you eat too fast, you wind up throwing it up. There are certain foods that I can't eat anymore. Whatever food that I eat needs to be moist. And I have to chew it until it's just down to its smallest fiber in order to get it through. It's funny, all the things that they tell you to do — chew your food longer, eat until you're just about full, exercise — all of those things [you have to do] after this surgery.
TVGO: Why undergo the surgery now?
Jackson: I was having some impending health issues with diabetes and I figured it was time to really get healthy.
TVGO: Did the national exposure play a part?
Jackson: Not at all. It's just my health. I've been in the music business for 25 years and worked with some of the biggest names in the business. I've been around celebrity all of my life, and I was in the last two years of Journey, so I've played on stage and done videos and produced countless records. So, it's not like, "Oh, my God! You're a celebrity, you want to do something." It just was time to really try and help myself.
TVGO: Are you happy at your current weight, or do you want to lose more?
Jackson: I'm gonna naturally see where it goes. But I think in the next... by the time I reach the end of July, which is the anniversary [of my surgery], I will probably have lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 pounds. That's all I want to lose. Actually, I only wanted to lose 120, so I'm almost there.
TVGO: Switching gears, do you think Janet Jackson intended to show her nipple?
Jackson: I think it was definitely planned. Wasn't she wearing a pastie? I don't think people normally put pasties on, do they?
TVGO: Did it surprise you?
Jackson: No. The music business is always crazy and wild and unpredictable; that's what I love about it. And all of the people that say they don't are liars because we all live vicariously through these people. I think it was great. I think people are making too much of a boob.
TVGO: During the Idol auditions, whenever there was a truly dreadful singer performing, you would look off camera at someone and start laughing. Were you looking at the producers?
Jackson: Yeah, I'm like, "Dude, what's going on here? You can't be serious."
TVGO: That explains it. And tell me the truth: Did you and Simon really miss Paula when she called in sick?
Jackson: I think we did. She adds a nice balance to the two guys because she [represents] the female perspective.
TVGO: If you say so. Hey, what did you have against Scooter Girl? She's an amazing singer!
Jackson: Scooter Girl belongs on Broadway — with her scooter. And that's not a diss. That's what I talk about in my book [What's Up Dawg?]. Who are you? What is the best thing for you? And have you accepted who you are and what's best for you? People just don't want to do that work.
TVGO: How come you Simon and Paula never made an issue of Ruben's weight on the show? You say appearance is important, but you completely glossed over his size.
Jackson: I think we did [say something], initially. I think in Nashville when we first saw him we were like, "Wow." The season before, Simon had an issue with fat overweight people, and we said it's not so much the weight, it's the personality.
TVGO: What happened to poor Justin Guarini in your opinion?
Jackson: Justin's album was not good. It was a terrible record. Whomever helped him make it did a terrible job. And I think that sunk him, along with a really terrible movie called From Justin to Kelly, which was also terrible. I couldn't even get past the first 20 minutes. I love Justin to death, but I don't think we've seen the real Justin Guarini. That's the problem.
TVGO: Do you have a favorite to win this year?
Jackson: I don't want to name names. I think the top 12 will be better than the previous two seasons. I think these kids look better, too. I think it's about a girl this time. I think girls will be the [final] two. There have been some good boys, but not amazing boys.