Randy JacksonIt was slightly unconventional for Journey to recruit unknown Filipino singer Arnel Pineda last year to front the band. Sure, Pineda was in a Journey cover band back home and he had some pretty convincing performance clips on YouTube, but that didn't stop some industry types from scoffing. Now American Idol judge—oh and he's a producer, too—Randy Jackson is weighing in on Pineda. Jackson played bass with Journey for some time in the '80s (click here to see him during an '86 performance, wearing spandex.)

Speaking to People.com, Jackson said, "The guy can sing, he's great. But no one ... no one will ever be Steve Perry. He's one of the greatest singers to ever grace the microphone."

Jackson visited the studio when the Pineda-fronted Journey were recording their new album Revelation, which debuted in the Billboard Top 5 on Friday, June 13. "I heard a few songs," says Jackson. "I think they're doing really well."

Asked about Perry, who left Journey for the second time in 1998, Jackson said, "He's doing his thing. Steve's fine. I actually had lunch with him about a month ago. He's working on hot stuff, too."

Check out Arnel for yourself: