Fox officially announced on Sunday, September 16, that Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban have signed on to "American Idol" as judges and will join Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey next season.
Minaj, a 29-year-old female rapper perhaps best known for her hit single "Super Bass," was rumored to be in talks to become a judge last month. Urban, a country music superstar who has won four Grammy awards, was also named in the rumor mill for a while.
"It's really an honor to have been invited to be a part of the American Idol family," Urban, 44, said in a statement to CNN. "I'm looking forward to working with everyone and to seeing the same passion that I have for music in all of the participants."
Host Ryan Seacrest confirmed the announcement with a Tweet that included a photo of the new cast and crew together. "It's official, your new #IdolJudges are @MariahCarey, @NickiMinaj, @KeithUrban & @Yo_RandyJackson," he wrote.
According to Deadline.com, Minaj reportedly signed a contract that is rumored to include a $10 million to $12 million salary. Meanwhile, Urban is said to be earning around $3 million to $5 million for the gig.
Auditions will kick off in New York City and will also include cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City.
"New York auditions today & tomorrow," Minaj Tweeted on September 16. "See ya there barbz!!!!!!!!! #AmericanIdol :p."
Executive producer Simon Fuller said in a statement, "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."
Mariah Carey signed on as a judge in mid-July. The singer was reportedly commanding a salary of more than $17 million.
The new judges come on the heels of the departures of former judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez at the end of last season. Lopez and Tyler joined the series in 2010.
They had served as co-judges alongside veteran cast member Randy Jackson for the past two seasons and had been cast after the departure of the show's most famous judge and co-creator, Simon Cowell, as well as Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres.
"American Idol" season 12 is set to kick off in January 2013.
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