Randy Jackson Feels "Idol"

The judge dishes from his seat on "the best talent show ever"

With Fox's American Idol's fifth season already proving to be the most successful, it's no wonder record producer and Idol judge Randy Jackson sees no end to what he calls "the best talent show ever." And with the U.S. version of the British hit show recently extended through 2011, Idol has become a mainstay. Though still in its early stages (the initial auditions showcasing the best and worst a city has to offer), this season is capturing the largest number of viewers in the show's history: 40 million. Also lending credence to Idol's staying power is the fact that this year, with the 48th Annual Grammy Awards just days away, two alumni -- Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia Barrino -- are in the running for Best Album in their respective categories.

How do you feel about the success of American Idol?
Really happy, really elated just knowing that we're so blessed. Season Five, to have ratings like this. I think part of the thing for me is that I think none of us thought it would be this big . . . I don't want to read into it, buy into it, whatever. I just want it to be.

Why do viewers keep watching?

How grueling is it to sift through all that talent -- or lack thereof?
It's hard because the days are long -- but, I mean, how hard is it really? The days definitely get a little long in the tooth, and you see us dragging and we're like, "Where's the jump-off from this, dawg?" It gets a little old. You see the makeup, and you see us eventually looking beat down and tired.