Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban confirmed as new 'American Idol' judges
The 'Super Bass' hitmaker and the country singer - who quit the Australian version of 'The Voice' earlier this month - will join fellow newcomer Mariah Carey and long-serving panellist Randy Jackson on the US talent show, and Keith is "so excited" to have landed the role.
The “American Idol” judges’ panel is now complete with the naming of singer-rapper Nicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban.
The Fox network officially tapped the pair with an announcement Sunday, confirming rumors surrounding them both just hours before the first round of auditions for next season was due to begin in New York.
Minaj is getting $12 million for a one-year deal on the hit Fox TV singing competition, a person in the music industry with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the deal.
A representative for Urban wouldn’t disclose the singer’s compensation for “Idol.” The announcement also settled the status of Randy Jackson. He will stay put as the sole remaining original “Idol” judge, scotching rumors he might assume a different role on the popular talent competition.
This trio will join pop star Mariah Carey on a judges’ panel now expanded to four members from its previous three. The AP reported in July that Carey is receiving just shy of $18 million for a one-year contract with a renewal option.
Arriving at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where the auditions would take place, Urban hailed “Idol” for its “great history of producing real stars.” As an “Idol” judge, he said he plans to be “authentic” but not cruel.
“I did similar shows when I was very young in Australia,” he recalled, “and I was sort of crucified by one judge. So I don’t know that I’ll ever be THAT guy.” Minaj said during the auditions that she’ll be looking for “a superstar,” which, she explained, is “something that can’t be defined in words.” Jackson called this pair of hires a “fresh, fresh, fresh ’Idol’ one-two!” Minaj, he said, “brings a whole other cool vibe we’ve never had on the show, and Keith Urban? My God, he’s unbelievably talented!” When Carey was asked whether she had eagerly awaited news of who would join her as judges, she cracked that, no, she hadn’t, ”because all I really care about is me,” but quickly added, “Only kidding.” Turning serious, she said she didn’t know what kind of judge she would be.
“Am I the mean one? Am I the nice one? ... It’s not about me, me, me, it’s about them (the contestants) and what I can bring to them to help guide them in the right direction,” said Carey.
Ryan Seacrest will remain as host when the show returns for its 12th season in January.
“Last night,” he said, “we had a chance to really get together for the first time as a group. Everybody made a toast and talked about how special it was that they were here, and why they were here. So we’re off to a good start.” Seacrest took note of “the serious and obvious diversity on this panel,” adding, “You can see just by the panel the kind of power the show has.” The makeup of the panel has been in flux since Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez announced their exits in July. Carey signed on later that month.
“I am thrilled about this year’s judges’ panel,” said Mike Darnell, Fox president of Alternative Entertainment. “With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favorite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan, we’ve put together one of the most exciting judging panels around.” “Idol” is looking for its famous new faces to supercharge a show that remains a ratings leader but has seen its viewership and pop-culture clout erode in recent seasons in an increasingly crowded talent show field. Besides Fox sibling “The X Factor,” which recently added Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as judges, there’s NBC’s “The Voice,” which boasts Christina Aguilera among its big names.
'American Idol' host Ryan Seacrest also took to the social networking site to confirm the four judges will be on the panel for the forthcoming 12th season of the show.
He tweeted: "It's official! Your Season 12 Idol judges are Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. Meet the judges (sic)"
Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment for Fox, believes the talent show has recruited one of the "most exciting judging panels around" for the forthcoming season - which is due to air in January - after Nicki and Keith replaced outgoing judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
He said in a statement: "Nicki's an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop.
"Keith is another great addition to 'Idol' - he's one of the biggest stars in country music and I know that our fans and contestants will fall in love with him.
"With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favourite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan, we've put together one of the most exciting judging panels around."
Randy - who has been a judge on the programme since it began in 2002 - signed a new deal to remain on the show after talks with Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias broke down.
But 'X Factor' judge Simon Cowell - who was a panellist on 'American Idol' from 2002 to 2010 - has insisted keeping Randy on is the "right decision".
He tweeted: "Just heard Randy is back on Idol. Right decision."