After months of speculation about who would be sitting at the judging table with Mariah Carey on Season 12 of “American Idol”, Fox officially announced on Sunday that Randy Jackson would indeed be returning as a judge and not a mentor as previously planned. Joining him will be singer-rapper Nicki Minaj and country superstar Keith Urban. This marks the first time in Idol history that judges have represented the genres of rap and country. According to the Huffington Post, the judges arrived at a press conference New York City’s Lincoln Center and were very excited.
Urban praised “Idol” for its “great history of producing real stars” and claimed his judging style will be “authentic” but not harsh. ”I did similar shows when I was very young in Australia and I was sort of crucified by one judge. So I don’t know that I’ll ever be THAT guy.”
Minaj is going to be looking for a “superstar” and could not tell what one was for it was something she felt “can’t be defined in words.”
Commenting on the new pair, Jackson described them as “fresh, fresh, fresh. Idol one-two!” He says Minaj ”brings a whole other cool vibe we’ve never had on the show” and commended Urban for being “unbelievably talented.”
When asked if she was at the edge of her seat about who would be joining her this season, Mariah Carey quipped “No, because all I really care about it me. Only kidding.” She then expressed uncertainty over which judge she will be. ”Am I the mean one? Am I the nice one? … It’s not about me, me, me, it’s about them (the contestants) and what I can bring to them to help guide them in the right direction.”
Returning host Ryan Seacrest spoke about the atmosphere surrounding this new panel: ”Last night we had a chance to really get together for the first time as a group. Everybody made a toast and talked about how special it was that they were here, and why they were here. So we’re off to a good start.”
Fox President of Alternative Entertainment Mike Darnell echoes Seacrest’s sentiments: ”I am thrilled about this year’s judges panel. 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.”
“American Idol” will return to Fox January 2013.