Is Randy Jackson the New Harsh 'Idol' Judge?

Look out, contestants! Sources say Jackson is taking over Simon Cowell's role as the tough guy on the judges' panel

Since the departure of Simon Cowell, everyone has been wondering who would replace him as the resident meanie on the new season of American Idol. Some thought newbie Jennifer Lopez would throw around her Bronx-born attitude and leave the contestants quivering. But insiders are saying that it's not J.Lo who's giving the aspiring singers the beat down -- it's Randy Jackson!

Sources on the Idol set tell E! News that the only original judge left has been, by far, the most critical.

"It's been like Randy has stepped up his game and is being more blunt and bottom line," an Idol insider says. "He's definitely not wishy-washy. He's rebranded himself a little."

Though Lopez and third judge Steven Tyler have promised not to coddle the kids, it looks like Jackson is taking the reins and is only letting the best auditions through.

Idol host Ryan Seacrest, who's been on hand for the auditions in Milwaukee and East Rutherford, N.J., also seems to agree about Jackson's new role. "He's the one to shut it down the most," Seacrest said Monday morning on his KIIS-FM show.

We're so used to seeing Jackson as a big jolly teddy bear that we're wondering how his new, tougher persona is going to go over with the Idol viewers.

Are you surprised that Randy Jackson is being pegged as Idol's tough judge? Chime in below!

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