One more American Idol exit…

First Paula Abdul took a hike, then Simon Cowell put in his notice so he could bring  X Factor to America in 2011. Now, bandleader, Ricky Minor is headed to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to replace departing bandleader, Kevin Eubanks.

via TMZ:

TMZ has learned American Idol musical director Rickey Minor will become the new Kevin Eubanks on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

We’re told the announcement is supposed to be made tomorrow.

Minor has worked as a musical director for Beyonce, Ray Charles, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston and many others. He was also musical director for the Grammy Awards and the Super Bowl.

Eubanks is leaving the show late next month… exactly the same time “Idol” goes on hiatus.

NBC has since confirmed the story…

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  • Lera

    I bet 10 to 1 that this is the last year for American Idol.

  • Dlynne

    Wow! This is surprising. Makes you wonder what else is ahead.

  • _nyanyanie

    does this mean rickey won’t be back on idol next year? how long was he the bandleader on idol?

    wow, if they are going to end idol, i hope closes on season 10, a good run of 10 years, bring all the best they can get. no more, weird experiments. get the best mentors and theme nights and also ask kelly clarkson to mentor, that would be such a nostalgia. and have a mega reunion, more idol alumns and recall all the achievements associated with that tv show.

    but then, in business terms, is 15-20 million audience still not enough? there are other shows which has less than 10 million and i get no sense of it being in danger of cancellation. and idol is still a damn favorite show around the globe comparing to random stuff i see on tv.

    oh well, we’ll see how it all goes…

  • Lera

    Ratings are down, revenue is down, they tried to save money by not spending the money to clear new songs, this is the reason why we have seen the same songs and themes of the past. I feel sorry for the winner of this years Idol because they won’t really get much but the basic that is in the contract and once that contract is up, they will drop them unless they sell a crap load of CD’s like no other idol.

    My opinion…This is it folks!

  • Cari

    I think Rickey can’t leave soon enough. I hate his mugging for the camera and his horrible, hotel-lobby arrangements…

  • Kirsten

    I think Rickey can’t leave soon enough. I hate his mugging for the camera and his horrible, hotel-lobby arrangements…

    Well, I might not be that harsh, but I do think a new arranger might help freshen things up a bit.

    I will give Rickey credit for getting a live band on the show (if they go back to backing tracks they are idiots) and he’s enthusiastic despite probably having to deal with a lot of weird stuff from contestants and PTB.

    Interesting move on Rickey’s part. Does he really want to be the new Kevin Eubanks? Having to be the go-to guy to laugh when Leno’s jokes fall flat? Oh well, I’m sure he’s measured the pluses and minuses.

  • St.Lucia

    Well, good for Rickey. The idol boot is sinking so you might as well jump before it completely goes under. I too think that this will definitely be the last season of idol, it’s just too bad they didn’t go out on a high.

  • oceana

    Rickey’s really brilliant, and kudos to him for the new gig. At the same time, it might be time for a fresh new musical director at Idol. Among other fresh new changes that could benefit the show.

  • OnePlusSix

    I like Rickey and think he’ll do fine with Jay. With Kevin Eubanks leaving I believe Rickey will be a good replacement. As for Idol, with this season being the disaster that it is, I imagine the entire show needs a good overhaul and things like this (people moving on)will force their hand to step up the production with possibly a refreshing new format, etc.

  • t2

    Cari:
    04/14/2010 at 3:56 am
    I think Rickey can’t leave soon enough. I hate his mugging for the camera and his horrible, hotel-lobby arrangements…

    Cari, I agree with this so much. I think his lounge singer arrangements and music are a large part of the problem this year.

    On the other hand, I think Rickey will excel at the Leno spot and he is lucky to get it. I have to imagine there was a lot of competition to be on Leno, so congrats Rickey.

  • Jae

    I agree with t2 and Cari. Ricky ain’t that special and really is uninspired. Last year was a standout because you had a couple of contestants who just know how to tell the band what they wanted. Too bad Michael Orland can’t take over. He has pretty good music sensibility. But I have no problem with a new band director. Still his leaving does sound like ship jumping.

  • BootStar

    wow, if they are going to end idol, i hope closes on season 10, a good run of 10 years, bring all the best they can get. no more, weird experiments. get the best mentors and theme nights and also ask kelly clarkson to mentor, that would be such a nostalgia. and have a mega reunion, more idol alumns and recall all the achievements associated with that tv show.

    I totally agree with you and it’s what I’ve been predicting since LAST season when the rumors about X-Factor coming ashore here started. And that was even BEFORE Fox bought the show.

    I’m not always crazy about the band’s arrangements, but I love Rickey. He always looks cool and like he’s having fun with the contestants. I’ll never forget him working it out with Syesha Mercado on “One Rock and Roll Too Many.” One of the best overall performances on Idol ever.

    I’ll miss Rickey, and since I NEVER watch Leno, I probably won’t be seeing him much in the future either.

    “One Rock and Roll Too Many”

  • gangreen29

    I bet 10 to 1 that this is the last year for American Idol.

    HAHAHAHAHA! I love that people think that Fox is going to cancel a show that draws 20 million viewers and that always wins its time slot by millions of viewers. American Idol still gets something like double the ad rates that Dancing with the Stars gets because Idol has such a larger 18-49 demographic. Oh wait, but they are losing Rickey Minor, how will the show go on?! LOL

  • weese

    All Idol employees are probably feeling the heat this year with falling ratings and a consensus that this is the worst year ever. Idol may have given him some reason to believe that his job was the next one to be changed up(he probably didn’t want to do a nude cover for playgirl) so he moved on when he had the opportunity. I cannot imagine the Leno job actually being more rewarding than working with these kids. I kind of always imagined it to be a dream job.

  • colette

    Sorry, but I’m gonna disagree on the symbolism of Mr. Rickey’s departure.

    Musicians go where the money is better, and where other things are better for them. The Tonight Show pays their bands really, really well, the work is not difficult, there’s a lot of on-camera fun (and Rickey is a bit of a ham), and it’s a change-up. There is also a long tradition of really excellent jazz musicians leading that band — including Doc Severinson and Branford Marsalis.

    And they give you time off to gig around, and your weekends are free!

    I think it’s just an opportunity, and yeah sure, at a time when things at Idolsville are not on the upswing, that may have something to do with it. But there are definitely other reasons to change gigs…

  • tierbee

    If they can get someone new, I don’t think getting a new bandleader is a bad thing. They need to freshen it up a bit if they plan on the show lasting a while longer. I can’t imagine any circumstances under which there won’t be a season 10. It’s still a cash cow, I’m sure. Will Season 10 be the last? Guess we’ll see!

  • Lera

    It isn’t just Ricky leaving, if you think about it with Paula and Simon 3 of the major people on the show. This years lack of new theme’s, songs cleared, just the atmosphere to me tells me that people that are leaving are leaving because they want to leave on a high note. That is generally is how most actors go about their careers, they jump ship and find a new gig before they don’t have a job.

    Idol will not be the first show to end with a higher then average rating but it is still down from previous seasons (another indicator).

  • Pam

    From what I read yesterday, Kevin made the announcement Monday night on Leno about his exit from the show. I think Kevin’s last night is on 5/28 (Friday).

  • HarleyWoman

    How do you know he’s not going to do both. He’s been doing more than American Idol all along. As said, when Eubanks leaves, Idol will be on haitus.

  • cwm

    I for one will be sad to see Ricky go. I like him. But good for him for getting a good gig with Leno.

  • weese

    How do you know he’s not going to do both. He’s been doing more than American Idol all along. As said, when Eubanks leaves, Idol will be on haitus.

    He could do both. The Leno thing doesn’t seem like it would take much preparation.

  • http://mjsbigblog.com/luvadamlamberts-american-idol-tour-2009-washington-dc-re-cap.htm luvadamlambert

    Smart guy.

  • Truthiness

    I don’t see the show ending after this next season. The show is still doing really well in ratings and demos, still makes tons of money, is still relatively cheap to make, though it doesn’t really have the DVD sales or syndication to depend on (does it get some revenue from the songs on iTunes?) that scripted shows do.

    The show can limp along for years from what it is right now, and TPTB of this show do NOT strike me as the kind to want to go out with dignity. Because dignity and AI? bwhahaha. No.

  • Pam

    Here is Rickey’s interview with Ryan today HERE.