So, it finally happened. In a bid to compete against other shows that clearly focus on star power and the excitement of the judges instead of just the talent of the contestants – ‘The X Factor (US)’ and ‘The Voice’, respectively - ‘American Idol’ has signed Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban as new judges.
Minaj and Urban join the previously announced duo of Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson on the ‘American Idol’ judging panel for the new season, effectively replacing Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. While there has been no indication of Jackson’s salary for the revived panel, Carey reportedly been paid a record-breaking $18 million where as Minaj earned $8 million for her deal and Urban nabbed $4 million.
The new season of ‘American Idol’ will launch in January 2013. Read what several of the show’s masterminds had to say about the blockbuster judging lineup:
Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company:
“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. 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.”
Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia:
“We’re ecstatic to welcome Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban to the AMERICAN IDOL family, joining Mariah and Randy at the judges’ table. 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.”
Urban’s placement on ‘American Idol’ is quite understandable because of his musicianship and the large Country music audience that he commands. Yet, the justification of Minaj’s signing is shaky at best. Indeed, it appears that she was simply signed because she targets the youngest demographic of the bunch and the producers of ‘American Idol’ were eager to match her counterpart - Britney Spears - on ‘X Factor (US)’.
At least we still have three qualified judges present on the ‘American Idol’ judging panel. Carey’s knowledge of singing will more than compensate for what Minaj clearly lacks and it will be quite a spectacle to watch their opinions clash when the season launched next year.
It’s just a shame that Minaj scored a seat on the show because there were so many better choices – Lenny Kravitz, Prince, Elton John, Toni Braxton and even Kelly Rowland. This final decision was simply made in an effort to compete for ratings.