Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are coming to American Idol, Fox announced on Sunday. The superstar rapper and Grammy-winning country singer will be joining Mariah Carey and Idol veteran Randy Jackson at the judges’ table for the show’s 12th season, which begins in January 2013.
Rumors concerning the new panel had been swirling all summer, following the announcements by both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez that they would not be returning to the show. Nick Jonas had confirmed at one point that he was being considered for the job, and sources said that Pharrell Williams was also in the running.
“I am thrilled about this year’s judges’ panel,” Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment at Fox, said in a statement. “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.”
The new four-person panel of judges will be getting to work right away, as auditions for the show begin today in New York City.