Rapper Nicki Minaj and Australian country singer Keith Urban will join the “American Idol” judges panel when the TV competition’s 12th season starts next January, the Fox network said Sunday. The panel is growing from three to four judges next season, with singer Mariah Carey, hired in July, and “Idol” original Randy Jackson sitting with Minaj and Urban, the network said.
Rocker Steven Tyler and singer Jennifer Lopez left the show at the end of last season, after judging for two seasons.
The official announcement noted Minaj’s “unique performance style and iconic fashion.” “Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,” it said.
Minaj, 29, “represents a different side of the music industry, who has now crossed into mainstream culture with her unique artistry, style and flair,” Cecile Frot-Coutaz, the CEO of “Idol” owner FremantleMedia, said.
Urban, 44, is a four-time Grammy Award winner and has recorded 14 songs that topped the country music charts. He’s “one of country music’s true stars who brings with him charm, wit and knowledge about the industry,” Frot-Coutaz said.