The country singer and the outrageous rapper have joined Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey on the judging panel for season 12. As expected for the past week, Fox made the formal announcement this morning as all four judges get set to appear at American Idol auditions in New York today. Minaj’s contract is rumored to be in the $10 million to $12 million range. Urban, who quit his gig as a judge on the Australian version of The Voice late last week, is rumored to be earning about $3 million to $5 million next season. “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,” said Mike Darnell, Fox’s President of Alternative Entertainment today. “With the exciting addition of Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj, alongside Randy Jackson, American Idol’s star power has never been so great,” added Idol creator/executive producer Simon Fuller.
The addition of Carey as an Idol judge was confirmed in late July by Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly. At the same TCA session where Carey’s judgeship was announced, Reilly said he expected long-time judge Jackson to come back to the show in some capacity. Last week, the network closed a deal with Jackson to return to Idol as a judge after negotiations with Enrique Iglesias to join the show broke off. Sources say that Jimmy Iovine is still in talks for season 12 but that the Interscope Records chairman is expected to be returning to the show in the mentor role he has held for the last two seasons. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is also returning as is host Ryan Seacrest, who has a multi-year deal. Season 12 of American Idol debuts in January 2013.
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