After an exceedingly long wait, FOX has finally confirmed the judging panel for “American Idol” Season 12. Joining Mariah Carey will be Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and good ol’ standby Randy Jackson, bringing the panel up to four people for the first time since Season 9.
“I am thrilled about this year’s judges’ panel!” says FOX President of Alternative Entertainment Mike Darnell. “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, we’ve put together one of the most exciting judging panels around.”
Although plenty of names swirled around in the months following the departures of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, Minaj and Urban persisted the longest. For a while it was thought that Jackson would take a different, mentor-type role on the show and Enrique Iglesias would take his place at the judges’ table, but he’s obviously decided to stay in his current job. It probably doesn’t hurt that he’s, like, besties with Mariah (or so he’s led us to believe).
What do you think of the new “American Idol” judging panel? Which newbie are you most excited to see? Are you happy Jackson’s coming back, or did you think we were finally rid of him?