American Idol 2012: Nicki Minaj & Keith Urban Confirmed Judges, Joining Mariah Carey For Season 12
Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban have officially joined the judges' table for "American Idol," a Fox spokesperson confirmed on Sunday, Sept. 16.
The pair joins multi-Grammy-winner Mariah Carey who was announced in July, and the show's original judge Randy Jackson and original host Ryan Seacrest.
"Nicki's an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop. And 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," said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment for Fox, in a released statement.
"With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favorite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan [Seacrest], we've put together one of the most exciting judging panels around."
An unofficial announcement was leaked earlier Sunday morning courtesy of Seacrest.
"It's official, your new #IdolJudges are @MariahCarey, @NickiMinaj, @KeithUrban & @Yo_RandyJackson!" he tweeted.
Seacrest tweeted a photo of the new judges' panel with the caption "After some musical chairs, here's how the new #IdolJudges will be seated".
Seacrest also retweeted three of the judges comments on the new judges' table:
Urban, 44, who is married to Academy Award-winning Australian actress Nicole Kidman tweeted, "SO excited to be joining the team on @AmericanIdol!!!!!!"
"we are back! its on! #idoljudges," wrote Jackson.
"On my way to meet the new #Idol Judges," Carey tweeted
Minaj, 29, and Urban were confirmed several hours before auditions kicked off in New York.
Minaj will get about $12 million and Urban will collect about $6 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Seacrest earns $15 million a year and Carey's reported sum of $18 million makes her the highest-paid celebrity judge on television.
The next season will be the first time "AI" will have a four-judge panel since 2010.
Minaj and Urban replace Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler and singer-actress Jennifer Lopez who sat on the panel for seasons 10 and 11.
The Fox announcement followed months of rumors about other celebrities in discussions with the show's prducers- rapper Kanye West, Katy Perry, Enrique Iglesias, Adam Lambert, Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus.
"American Idol" launched in 2002 and its viewing audience is now half the 30-plus million who watched regularly during the show's prime in 2005 and 2006.
Fox's "X Factor" was down about 3.5 million viewers from 2011 when the show returned last week, with new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.
"X Factor" was beaten by NBC's "The Voice". "The Voice" celebrity judges are Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and country star Blake Shelton.
The 12th season of "American Idol" will air in January 2013.
The next season of "The Voice" will air in Spring 2013 which will compete with "Idol" viewers.