‘American Idol’ Confirms Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban as Judges

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Hip-hop queen Nicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban are officially taking a seat on the judging panel of American Idol, FOX confirmed on Sunday.

“Nicki’s an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop,” FOX’s president of alternative Mike Darnell said in a statement on Sunday. “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.”

The two join previously announced judge Mariah Carey, plus returning Idol favorite Randy Jackson.

Host Ryan Seacrest took to Twitter immediately following Fox’s announcement, posting an Instagram photo of the new team, with Minaj’s platinum blonde hair taking center stage.

“Everyone gave a heartfelt toast about being on the show after we ate last night. Cant wait to see the first contestants today,” Seacrest added.

What did the newly added judges have to say about their new gig?

Urban, 44, also took to Twitter following the announcement, writing


Minaj, 29, hinted at her new gig the previous day, only posting “Info tmrw…” on her Twitter account, before re-tweeting Seacrest’s welcome message Sunday morning.

According to Deadline, Urban’s contract is rumored to be as much as $5 million for season 12, while Minaj is rumored to be making as much as $12 million.

Carey, 42, was added to the Idol judging panel over the summer when FOX broke the news at the Television Critics Association session. Her reported salary: a record-breaking $17 million.  Jackson, who has served as a judge on the show since it premiered 10 years ago, closed his own deal only last week.

American Idol season 12 will kick off in January.