“American Idol” fans were elated to see Kelly Clarkson receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, surrounded by all three “Idol” judges who helped crown her as the show’s first winner in 2002. But supporters also expressed deep concern about Randy Jackson’s surprisingly frail appearance at the ceremony, especially after videos of him having difficulty walking began to surface online.
Randy Jackson appeared to be in a good mood at Clarkson’s Walk of Fame ceremony on September 19, 2022, joking with Cowell and Abdul from his chair and smiling for photos with the group. But what most fans failed to see in coverage of the event was how much difficulty 66-year-old Jackson had standing and walking on his own.
During photos, the music producer and bass guitarist tried to hide his cane behind him and hold Cowell’s shoulder much of the time. After the group of judges gave Clarkson hugs and dispersed, Cowell was seen on the livestream video watching his friend closely and putting his arm around Jackson to stabilize him. Jackson then reached for one of the poles holding the tent up to keep his balance.
The next day, videos of others attending the event began to appear on social media regarding fans.
A YouTube video from celebritychaos.tv shows Jackson entering and leaving the event with an assistant and security guard, looking weak and unsteady on his legs.
But the most watched video was on TikTok. Within 24 hours of the ceremony, a TikTok video posted by Lupe de Los Santoz, in which Jackson kindly said, “Goodbye, dawg” to a benevolent fan as he slowly exited the event, was viewed more than 2 million times. Viewers flooded the post with concerns about Jackson’s health.
One viewer wrote, “My (heart) broke emotionally when I saw this…” and added a crying emoji.
Another commented: “omg!!! is he ill? wow what happened?!”
“Was I under a rock?” someone asked. “What’s wrong with Randy?”
Fans also took to Twitter to voice their concerns and questions. One wrote: “Damn man. what condition is randy jackson in? it makes me so sad when I look at him.”
But many social media users encouraged others to be kind and use their feeds to spread good wishes and support Jackson’s persistence.
One Twitter user wrote: “I just saw the video of Randy Jackson. After some quick research I found out that nothing has been said so the best we can do is best wishes, encouragement, positive vibes, prayer etc.
In the comment section of the TikTok video, one viewer wrote: “He came out for Kelly (crying emoji), pretty brave of him to do knowing people would talk.”
Another commented: “God bless him as he fights through whatever it is. He’s definitely moving forward.”
Hours after the Walk of Fame ceremony, Jackson posted a congratulatory message to Clarkson on Instagram, but did not address growing concerns from fans about his health.
In the past, he was an open book about his health challenges. In 2003, Jackson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and lost more than 100 pounds with gastric bypass surgery. But in April 2022, he told Yahoo! Entertainment reporter Lyndsey Parker said the weight was creeping back up, so he had to find alternative ways to get rid of it.
Jackson told her he had tried numerous diets, injections, and even “drinking woman’s urine,” but ultimately found success with supplements he co-created with several doctors and co-founded a nutritional supplement company called Unify Health Labs.
During that interview, recorded five months before the Walk of Fame event, he said of his vitamin company, “I love it. I think I look pretty good now!”
Also in April, Jackson told KTLA’s Sam Rubin that his body is now “like night and day” compared to years ago.
“It’s so funny that my doctor finally says to me, ‘Finally! you’re on the weight chart where you should be for your height,'” he continued. “I don’t think I’ve ever been there in my life! But it’s great, listen, I feel great, it’s really good.”
In his April interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Jackson said that fan speculation about what he looks like goes hand in hand with being famous.
“Hey man, you have to give zero F’s or not even get on that stage,” he said, giving examples of the kind of downed stars stars hear about their looks. “Her eyes are too close together, his knees are throbbing, his teeth are jacked up, his hair – he needs extensions, I don’t like his skin, he looks like he has a swollen belly. The audience tears you to shreds. So if you’re going to take the oath and become a public person, get ready. Get ready.”