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'American Idol'

Randy Jackson

OUT AS JUDGE

8/31/2012 8:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0830_randy_jackson_american_idol_articleThe dawg days are over at "American Idol" ... TMZ has learned Randy Jackson is officially LEAVING the judge's table ... but will still remain a part of the show as a "mentor."

Sources connected to "Idol" tell us ... there's some concern among the brass that Jackson is not well-suited for the mentor role ... but they feel they need him because he's the glue that helps keep the show together.

As for his replacement ... sources tell us Nicki Minaj's deal is 99% done ... but still not a sure thing just yet.

We're told the honchos are keenly aware Mariah Carey isn't a fan of Minaj and doesn't want her at the table ... a fact producers LOVE because they think the conflict and tension will be good for the show.

And ... we now know A.I. will once again go with a 4th judge ...  we're told producers are gunning for someone from the country music world for the third seat.  Seat number 4 is up in the air.

Finally, altough "A.I." wanted Diddy or Kanye West ... we're told they are definitely out of the picture.

Thiiiiiiiiis ... is getting intense.

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