Nellie Andreeva

Chatter about the the judges on the upcoming 12th season of American Idol intensify as Fox is expected to start completing deals and announce talent right after the Labor Day holiday weekend. Despite all the speculation, Mariah Carey still is the only judge locked in for next season. Nicki Minaj continues to be in negotiations. Keith Urban appears likely to get the “country” chair, for which Fox had approached Brad Paisley early on. The judging panel will likely be extended to four people, with the last spot still vacant. The only surviving original American Idol judge, Randy Jackson, had long been rumored to segue into a mentor role. TMZ today is reporting that as fait accompli, though sources stress that no final decision has been made. Fox chairman Kevin Reilly at TCA indicated that he expected Jackson to be back in some capacity. Also back is Nigel Lythgoe as executive producer and host Ryan Seacrst, who is under a multi-year deal.

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