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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 12

'American Idol' formally announces Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban as judges, Randy Jackson returning

By Reality TV World staff, 09/16/2012 

American Idol's new judging panel is now official.

Fox has announced rapper Nicki Minaj and country singer Keith Urban will join returning judge Randy Jackson and previously-announced new judge Mariah Carey on Idol's twelfth-season judging panel.

"I am thrilled about this year's judges' panel! We've got global icon Mariah Carey and Idol's heart and soul Randy Jackson, who will be joined by Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. 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," Fox reality chief Mike Darnell said.

"We're ecstatic to welcome Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban to the American Idol family, joining Mariah and Randy at the judges' table," added American Idol executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "Nicki is someone who represents a different side of the music industry, who has now crossed into mainstream culture with her unique artistry, style and flair. Keith is one of country music's true stars who brings with him charm, wit and knowledge about the industry."

Fox's announcement brings an end to months of rumors and speculation about American Idol's twelfth-season judging panel and gives the reality singing competition a four-judge panel for the first time since Jackson, Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi served as the show's ninth-season panel in 2010.

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler -- who had served as judges alongside Jackson for Idol's tenth and eleventh seasons -- each announced their departures in early July. 

Carey was announced as a new American Idol judge shortly afterward, however whether Jackson would return as a judge or transition to a reduced mentor role had reportedly been in question until earlier this month when Idol's negotiations with Latin artist Enrique Iglesias fell apart.

Reports that Minaj and Urban were finalizing deals to serve as judges for American Idol's twelfth season began circulating several weeks ago but remained unconfirmed by Fox until today's announcement.

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