American Idol Firms Up Its Judges

Nicki Minaj

AMERICAN IDOL: Nicki Minaj (Photo by Brad Barket/PictureGroup)

It’s official – Fox has signed Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban to judge wannabe singers alongside Mariah Carey and American Idol veteran Randy Jackson. Surprised? No? Yes, this is the judging panel everyone has been assuming for weeks will be in place when American Idol returns for its 112th 12th season.

AI returns in January 2013 with Ryan Seacrest back as host and the new four-person judging panel of Carey, Minaj, Urban, and Jackson handling the job of insulting/encouraging unknown singers. Auditions will kick off in New York City and hit LA, Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City before the AI audition tour is over.

“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,” stated Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, in the official announcement. “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.”

Executive producer Simon Fuller added, “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. For this we have to thank the ongoing commitment and belief of FOX and the dedication and focus of the IDOL production team. We have all been together since the very beginning and we are focused on making IDOL Season 12 the best ever.”

Keith Urban

AMERICAN IDOL: Keith Urban (Photo by Evan Agostini/PictureGroup)

Keith Urban Bio [Courtesy of Fox]:

In 2001, the Country Music Association honored Keith Urban with its Horizon Award, designating him a talented artist with a bright future. He is the first Horizon Award winner in history to go on to win the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year, a title he’s captured three times, and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. More than 15 million albums later, Urban is a four-time Grammy Award winner, who has also won a People’s Choice and American Music Award. He’s won five Academy of Country Music Awards and had 14 No. 1 songs, including 28 Top 5 hits. In 2012, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. His latest CD, Get Closer, comes on the heels of his fifth consecutive platinum or multi-platinum release. It has produced three consecutive No. 1 singles: “You Gonna Fly,” “Long Hot Summer” and “Without You.”

In 2009, Urban was named radio’s most-played country artist, thanks to No. 1 hits such as “Sweet Thing,” “You’ll Think Of Me,” “Only You Can Love Me This Way,” “Better Life” and “Days Go By.” In addition, his 2002 smash, “Somebody Like You,” was named the No. 1 Country Song of the Decade by Nielsen BDS (based on radio airplay and audience impressions).

But Urban’s reputation as an elite songwriter, musician, vocalist and virtuoso guitarist is no more evident than when he is onstage. His electrifying concerts have played to sold-out venues in Australia, Germany, England, Canada and the United States, all while receiving high praise from critics. In fact, 2009’s Escape Together World Tour, as well as 2007’s Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy World Tour, were both, according to Pollstar, one of the top-grossing tours for their respective years. Last year, his Get Closer 2011 World Tour solidified Urban as one of the music industry’s best live performers.

Mariah Carey Joins American Idol

AMERICAN IDOL: Mariah Carey (Photo by Mark Cant)

Mariah Carey Bio [Courtesy of Fox]:

With a distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific songwriting and producing talent, Carey has defined the modern pop performance. As a singer/songwriter/producer, she has been recognized with multiple Grammy Awards, nine American Music Awards, Billboard’s Artist of the Decade Award, the World Music Award for World’s Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium and BMI’s Icon Award, to name a few. She has two consecutive and unparalleled Billboard Song of the Decade titles: “One Sweet Day” (with Boyz II Men); and “We Belong Together,” further marking her massive presence on the charts since her 1990 song debut “Vision of Love.” Mariah became the second artist in history and the first female performer to have a song debut at No. 1 with “Fantasy” (1995), the groundbreaking collaboration with O.D.B. of the innovative rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Carey’s original holiday classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” redefined its place in pop culture as one of the greatest holiday hits of all time when it reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2011, 17 years after its debut. Carey’s influential and stellar contribution to the music industry spans multiple genres and is showcased through a multifaceted hit catalog as well as a long list of diverse collaborations.

Carey’s ongoing impact transcends the music industry and has left an indelible imprint upon the world at large. She recently made a substantial mark in film with her critically acclaimed role as a social worker in Precious, the 2009 film based on the novel Push, by Sapphire. A Congressional Award recipient, Carey has generously donated her time and energy to a range of domestic and international philanthropic causes near to her heart, including The Fresh Air Fund/Camp Mariah (a retreat where inner-city children explore career development), Save the Music Foundation and Make-a-Wish Foundation, among several others.

Nicki Minaj Bio [Courtesy of Fox]:

Nicki Minaj is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter and voice actress. Known for her underground mix-tape presence, Minaj garnered the attention of Lil Wayne, who signed her to his record label, Cash Money. She immediately rose to prominence when she released her debut album, Pink Friday, in November 2010. It quickly became a commercial success, peaking at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a month after its release. She simultaneously became the featured “It” girl on a string of high-profile singles from artists such as Madonna, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Drake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Ludacris, Justin Bieber, Trey Songz and Alicia Keys. Minaj also has become the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Her seventh single, “Super Bass,” has since been certified quadruple-platinum by the RIAA and has sold more than four million copies, becoming one of the best-selling singles in the United States.

Minaj released her second studio album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, in April 2012, which topped charts internationally, and spawned the Top 10 singles “Starships” and “Pound the Alarm.” Since then, the album has sold one million copies worldwide, and has become one of the best-selling albums of 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan. At the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, she won Best Female Video for “Starships.” At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, she won Best Hip-Hop Video for “Super Bass.”

Nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award in the category of Best New Artist, Minaj’s rapping technique has been hailed by critics for its use of alter-egos, accents (notably, British) and rapid-fire pace. Equally well-known for her unique sense of style, her use of colorful wigs and outlandish costumes ranks her as one of the world’s leading fashion icons. Minaj is in the midst of her Pink Friday: RELOADED Tour.

Randy Jackson

AMERICAN IDOL: Randy Jackson (Photo by Warwick Saint / FOX)

Randy Jackson Bio [Courtesy of Fox]:

A music industry veteran of more than 20 years and a Grammy Award-winning producer, Randy Jackson began playing bass guitar at age 13 and got his big break when he joined the band Journey. A prolific producer, Jackson spent eight years as Vice President of A&R at Columbia Records, followed by four years as Senior Vice President of A&R at MCA Records. However, it was AMERICAN IDOL that propelled Jackson into the mainstream.

Jackson has since expanded into television production, setting up his Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment banner at Warner Horizon Television and launching the hit reality-competition series Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew.

While working on more than 1,000 gold and multi-platinum albums, which have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, Jackson’s amazing talent, vast studio knowledge, performing, touring and record company acumen have made him one of today’s most coveted music industry experts.

In 2006, Jackson executive-produced and performed on the legendary Sam Moore’s Grammy-nominated album Overnight Sensational. Jackson also teamed with country music superstar Travis Tritt, and most recently, he brought together an eclectic mix of artists on Randy Jackson’s Music Club, Vol. 1, the first release from his Dream Merchant 21 record label.

Source: Fox

Rebecca Murray

Editor in Chief at ShowbizJunkies
Journalist covering the entertainment industry for more than 13 years. Member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and San Diego Film Critics Society.

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