Nicki Minaj confirmed as final 'Idol' judge
l NEW YORK
The American Idol judges' panel is now complete with the naming of singer-rapper Nicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban.
The Fox network officially taped the pair with an announcement yesterday, confirming rumours surrounding them both just hours before the first round of auditions for next season was due to begin in New York.
The announcement also settled the status of Randy Jackson. He will stay put as the sole remaining original Idol judge, scotching rumours he might assume a different role on the popular talent competition.
This trio will join pop star Mariah Carey on a judges' panel now expanded to four members from its previous three.
Minaj said that during the auditions she'll be looking for "a superstar," which, she explained, is "something that can't be defined in words."
Jackson called this pair of hires a "fresh, fresh, fresh Idol one-two!"
Minaj, he said, "brings a whole other cool vibe we've never had on the show, and Keith Urban? My God, he's unbelievably talented!"
"I am thrilled about this year's judges' panel," said Mike Darnell, Fox president of Alternative Entertainment. "With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favourite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan, we've put together one of the most exciting judging panels around."
Idol is looking for its famous new faces to supercharge a show that remains a ratings leader but has seen its viewership and pop-culture clout erode in recent seasons in an increasingly crowded talent show field. Besides Fox sibling The X Factor, which recently added Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as judges, there's NBC's The Voice, which boasts Christina Aguilera among its big names.
Minaj, 29, is known for her colourful hairstyles, wardrobe and antics. A native of Trinidad who grew up in New York, she has scored with hits like "Starships," "Turn Me On," and "Super Bass," her seventh single, which has sold more than 4 million copies.