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Randy Jackson

Nearly an 'American Idol' Casualty

7/31/2010 11:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Randy Jackson is the only judge returning to "American Idol" next season ... but that almost wasn't the case.

Randy Jackson - American Idol
Sources close to production tell TMZ there was "serious talk" of a clean sweep of the judge's panel ... but we're told "Idol" brass wanted to keep a connection to the original judge's table, so Randy was spared.

As we previously reported, Simon Cowell left for "The X Factor," Ellen DeGeneres stepped down after one season and Kara DioGuardi was let go -- leaving Randy as the only remaining judge.

Welcome back, dawg!

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