randy jackson mentor

*“American Idol” kicked off its first ever “Rush Week,” where five of the 15 female contestants were eliminated by show’s end – without ever getting to sing for America.

The remaining 10, chosen by judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr., performed Tuesday for our votes, as will 10 of the 15 male finalists tonight (Feb. 19). Five guys will also exit the show without getting to perform. On Thursday, one male and female contestant will be sent packing based on America’s vote.

This new “Rush Week” wasn’t the only thing different on “Idol’s” Tuesday episode. Longtime judge Randy Jackson also debuted as a mentor for the Top 30, giving out performance advice alongside guest mentors and “Idol” alum Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert.

“I want these kids to do as great a job as they can and give them the best advantage to win,”  Randy told us. “I got Chris and Adam here, who’ve been through the show, who have their own bustling careers, who are doing amazingly well. Funny enough, neither one of them won, but they have greater careers than some of the winners!”

After putting in 12 seasons as a judge, Randy says it was time to move into a new phase on the show. “Natural progression,” he calls it. “I believe in evolution always. …As a judge, I think I’ve done everything that I could do, and I’m happy.”

Below, Randy explains what he wants to get across to the contestants during these mentoring sessions.

This week, “American Idol” continues on Wednesday and Thursday 8/7c on Fox. Below, a look inside the “Randy Jackson Workshop.”