Sunday, September 16, 2012

New 'American Idol' judges named

Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban (Lester Cohen, WireImage; Ryan Pierse, Getty Images)

Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban join Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson on a potentially firey panel.
photo: Ryan Seacrest's InstagramOn Sunday morning it was officially announced, at the first "American Idol" Season 12 callback auditions taping at New York's Lincoln Center, that hip-hop diva Nicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban have finally signed on to be the new "American Idol" judges--joining the panel alongside longtime judge Randy Jackson (who is still on board to give the show continuity, despite earlier reports that he was being demoted) and Randy's star managerial client, Mariah Carey. The odd foursome made their first official appearance at Lincoln Center this Sunday morning.

Nicki Minaj performs on "Idol" [photo: Fox]Although Nicki once claimed she didn't want to be a full-time TV talent show judge, back when it was rumored that she'd been approached by Simon Cowell to join "The X Factor," the split-personality star has apparently since changed at least one of her minds. This is probably due to the reported $10 million (plus additional allowances for hair and makeup) that Fox will be paying her. Or maybe when she once joked about filling Jennifer Lopez's seat with her own equally famous curvy behind, she wasn't really joking after all.

Keith is coming
photo: CJ Hicksin as a relative bargain, since he's reportedly "only" getting paid somewhere around $4 million. But regardless, neither of these two new judges will be getting anything close to the cool $18 million that Mariah is supposedly pocketing.
photo: Jordan Strauss / WireImageRandy will actually be pocketing two salaries--his own as a continuing judge, and a cut of Mariah's earnings, of course. All this for a man who only days ago was supposedly stepping down. I have to give the man kudos for his tenacity--clearly he is in it to win it. Either the man has dirt on Simon Fuller and is blackmailing the show, or "Idol" producers have realized that it's not wise to throw the Dawg out with the bathwater and change up this time-honored show too much. I admit I'm glad Randy still in the mix, if only for branding and nostalgia's sake. Hey, even Randy's former "Idol" co-star Simon Cowell tweeted that this was the right decision on Fox's part!
Anyway, this ought to be interesting--especially where Nicki is concerned. Miss Minaj is certainly a colorful and polarizing figure, and she'll certainly make for some fantastic television. But is she really the right fit for "Idol"? There seems to be at least one person who may not be too happy about this news--Mariah, who according to TMZ was furious to learn that she'd have to share the spotlight with someone as flashy and flamboyant as darling Nicki. I have mixed feelings about this hiring myself, which I'll get to in a moment.
As for Keith, when rumors of "Idol" judge replacements first started circulating following the departures of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, the names of divas like Katy Perry, Celine Dion, and Aretha Franklin were mentioned, but no one was speculating that some country-boy-next-door type might land (or even want) the job. However, now that Keith has officially joined the "Idol" cast, I don't think it will be a bad thing for the show at all. In fact, Keith might be just what "Idol" needs.
Here are my thoughts on "American Idol's" new recruits:
She'll bring in an urban audience - Hip-hop and R&B are arguably the biggest genres on the charts right now, and have been for some time...but "Idol" has become increasingly white-washed over the years. There hasn't been an R&B-singing champion on "Idol" in eight years, and the few R&B singers who do tend to go far on the show, from Ruben Studdard to Michael Lynche to Joshua Ledet, usually traffic in a more old-school style. Meanwhile, "The X Factor" has become the singing show of choice for urban music fans, with a judging panel that includes former LaFace Records co-founder/Island Def Jam honcho L.A. Reid and an inaugural season that included many hip-hop/R&B-influenced finalists. "The Voice"--which features hip-hop star Cee Lo Green as a coach and crowned an R&B singer with Alicia Keys connections, Jermaine Paul, as its Season 2 winner--has also siphoned off some urban-music-fan viewers from "Idol." So Nicki, especially paired with Mariah, could definitely draw in a different audience aside from the core viewers that have consistently voted for five guitar-strumming rock/country/folk singers in a row--thus making "Idol" diverse and competitive again. This, of course, is a good thing.

News Source: yahoo

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