Confirmed! Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban Named New American Idol Judges
It's official: Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban have joined Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson as judges on American Idol, FOX announced September 16.
In late August, an insider told Us Weekly that "Starships" rapper Minaj, 29, was "100% confirmed to judge American Idol," while another source added there were "a few more slight things to sign off on" before the network would officially make an announcement.
Earlier this week, Urban, 44, quit The Voice in Australia, where he served as mentor during the show's first season with "Kiss From a Rose" singer Seal, 49, Australian pop star Delta Goodrem, 27, and Good Charlotte rocker Joel Madden, 33. "As much as I'd love to do it again, it's clear that the recording and promoting of a new album, a tour and other commitments will keep me from being a part of the second season," the country music superstar (married to Nicole Kidman, 45) explained.
Minaj and Urban join new judge Carey, 42, and veteran judge Jackson, 56, who will begin their search for the next American Idol in New York City. (Other audition cities include L.A., Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City.)
"With the exciting addition of Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj, alongside Randy Jackson, American Idol's star power has never been so great," executive producer Simon Fuller tells Us in a statement. "For this we have to thank the ongoing commitment and belief of FOX and the dedication and focus of the Idol production team. We have all been together since the very beginning and we are focused on making Idol Season 12 the best ever."
Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company, added, "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. 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."
Previous American Idol judges include Simon Cowell, 52, Paula Abdul, 50, Jennifer Lopez, 43, Steven Tyler, 64, Kara DioGuardi, 41, and Ellen DeGeneres, 54. The new season premieres in January 2012 on FOX.