The speculation can now end: When AI’s 12th season debuts in January, Mariah Carey and returning judge Randy Jackson will be joined by new judges Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. Hopefuls meet host Ryan Seacrest and the new four-person panel of Carey, Jackson, Minaj and Urban 9/16, when the auditions begin in New York City. Other audition cities include Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City.
There were some reports that Jackson was leaving and would remain a consultant to the show, but that has been put to rest.
Carey is a multiple Grammy Award-winning global superstar with more than 200 million records sold worldwide and more No. 1 songs than any solo artist in history, whose 18 Billboard No. 1 singles (17 of which Carey wrote) rival all but The Beatles. Jackson is a Grammy Award-winning producer who has worked on more than 1,000 gold and multi-platinum albums, which have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.
Known for her unique performance style and iconic fashion, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Urban, one of country music’s biggest stars of the decade, has four Grammy Awards and 14 No. 1 hits, and was named Male Vocal Artist of the Year three times, as well as Entertainer of the Year, by the Country Music Association.
“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,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “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.”