American Idol judge Randy Jackson spoke to Rolling Stone's Brian Hiatt yesterday to discuss a plethora of issues and predictions for this season's version of the show. During the conversation, Chris Daughtry's comments about the show's decline came up, and Jackson defended the program's credibility. "I love Chris. I think he made an amazing record that he sold extremely well," Jackson said."He's a testament to the fact that no matter where you finish on Idol — even if you finish twelfth — if you make a great record and you got that kind of exposure, the public will resoundingly buy it. But the bottom line is there would be no Chris Daughtry if there wasn't American Idol."
Jackson also talked about how the show remains the best option for many young performers. "I did A&R at record companies for fifteen years. No company was out looking for these kids. I'm sure you can ask any of the winners or the runners-up: were you trying to get a record deal before American Idol? I'm sure they will all say 'Yes.' Were you successful? I'm sure they'll all say 'No.' So now we've got all these people, and guess what brought them here? The quickest rocket ship to the top."
For a guide to those winners, runners-up and biggest losers and their post-Idol careers, click here.