'American Idol' mentor Randy Jackson loves his new role: 'I get a chance to actually talk to them'
Zap2it spoke with Jackson during a day at the workshop, and he explained why he decided to return. "I feel like this is the next evolution of what I want to do," he says. "I did my time as a judge. I don't need to judge again ever. I love this because I can make this workshop and this mentoring role a bigger, broader thing and actually help the kids. Because as a judge, you get no interaction. ... Now, I get a chance to actually talk to them and help them and I can see the things that are wrong and suggest to them, 'Hey, maybe you want to try this.'"
So what's he been telling them? "We've just been talking about their time on their show and what they're going through, and talking about what they want to work on and me suggesting what they should work on here in workshop," he says.
Jackson is proud of the work he's able to do with each contestant, because it's something they can take with them after the show is over. "It's something for them to get better. This is something that will help them through the rest of their lives, not just the competition. So it's great. I love it."
Watch the interview below, then tune in for "American Idol" Rush Week starting Tuesday (Feb. 18) at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX. Jackson's segments with the contestants will air before each of the semi-finalist sings for a chance at the Top 13.