Ryan Seacrest Calls Randy Jackson’s ‘American Idol’ Departure ‘Bittersweet’

'I am coming back, yes. I will host,' Seacrest says of his lone wolf status for next year.

It was clear from his on-screen reaction last week that Ryan Seacrest was a bit stunned when his big dawg, Randy Jackson announced that he was leaving“American Idol” after Thursday night’s season 12 finale.

“It’s bittersweet, because I love the guy,” Seacrest said of last week’s surprise announcement, which even appeared to catch him off-guard. “I want him to go do what he wants to do. I love him and I can’t imagine walking out, going down those stairs and not seeing Randolph Jackson sitting behind the panel. [I'm] proud of what he’s brought to our show for 12 years now.”

“Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to rest, after 12 years of judging on ‘American Idol’ I have decided it is time to leave after this season,” Jackson said in last week’s statement about his decision. “I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life-changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures.”

The host with the most is keeping his chin up, though, and Seacrest is focusing on Thursday’s finale, which will crown either Candice Glover or Kree Harrison the first female “Idol” in six seasons.

When MTV News spoke to Seacrest he hadn’t yet screened this years winner’s songs, but was expecting to hear them before Wednesday night’s (May 15) final performance show. “They’ve got a lot to live up to after last year’s big smash with Phillip [Phillips' 'Home'],” he said. “I know both those girls are really excited. They’re really good friends. They’re competitively sweet with each other.”

Seacrest also answered the one burning question on everyone’s minds: will he be the last man standing next year following sole remaining original panelist Jackson’s departure? “This is me barely standing,” he joked. “I am coming back, yes. I will host.”

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