Singer Keith Urban performs "For You" at the 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada April 1, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
Fox has confirmed that rapper Nicki Minaj and country singer Keith Urban have joined ‘American Idol’ as the show’s newest celebrity judges. Minaj and Urban join Grammy-winning singer Mariah Carey and record producer Randy Jackson, Reuters reported.
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The announcement, which comes after months of heavy speculation, was made hours before auditions for the show were started in New York, according to Reuters.
Rumors circulated about several celebrities joining the judges’ panel including rapper Kanye West, singer Katy Perry, Latin crooner Enrique Iglesias, teen singers Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus, former ‘Idol’ runner-up Adam Lambert and N.E.R.D. rapper Pharrell Williams.
Previously confirmed judge Mariah Carey announced she was joining ‘American Idol’ in July and will be taking in $17 million as a judge. Producer Randy Jackson is the only longstanding judge, making this his twelfth season as judge.
According to Reuters, the show was been struggling with ratings over the past couple of season and is hoping to boost viewership with the new additions.
Mike Darnell, Fox’s reality programming chief, told Reuters, “Nicki’s an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop. And Keith is…one of the biggest stars in country music and I know that our fans and contestants will fall in love with him.”
Minaj, 29, has dominated the hip-hop world since debuting in the music scene in 2010. She, and her numerous alter-egos, have had multiple hit records, Reuters reported. The rapper is slated to make about $8 million as a judge on the show, Hollywood Reporter said.
Urban, 44, is a four-time Grammy winner who boast sales of 15 million albums. He announced his departure from Australia’s version of ‘The Voice’ last week, USA Today reported. According to Hollywood Reporter, the country singer is said to be making $4 million.
On Sunday, Urban tweeted, “SO excited to be joining the team on @AmericanIdol!!!!!!"
Previous judges include founding judges Simon Cowell, 52, and Paula Abdul, 50, along with Kara DioGaurdi, 41, Ellen DeGeneres, 54, Jennifer Lopez, 43, and Steven Tyler, 64.
'American Idol' season 12 is scheduled to premiere in January 2013 on Fox.