After months of speculation and never-ending rumors, the official line-up for the judges’ panel of “American Idol” 12th season has been announced officially. Fox made the revelation on Sunday, hours before the first round of auditions kicked off in New York.
Rapperand country star are to be a part of the next series of “American Idol”, joining singer and veteran host at the judges table, Fox’s president said in a statement. The duo replaces and frontman Steve Tyler, both of whom quit the show earlier this year.
According to reports, Mike Darnell, Fox’s President of Alternative Entertainment, said in a statement, “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.”
"Nicki's an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop. And Keith is ... one of the biggest stars in country music and I know that our fans and contestants will fall in love with him," Darnell added, according to Reuters.
Simon Fuller chimed in, “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.”
Nicki Minaj boasts of being the top female rapper in a world dominated by male artists. The 29-year-old forayed into the music scene in 2010 and quickly climbed the ladder of success with multiple hit records including "Starships".
The rapping sensation hit headlines in February when she appeared on the Grammy Awards red carpet with a fake pope. She caused a stir last week for controversial lyrics that appeared to support U.S. Republican presidential hopeful, but which she later claimed were meant to be ironic.
Meanwhile, 44-year-old Keith Urban, who is married to Oscar-winning actress, is a four-time Grammy winner. The New Zealand-born singer took to Twitter to share his excitement with his followers over joining the singing competition on Sunday. "SO excited to be joining the team on @AmericanIdol!!!!!!" Urban wrote.
Previously, the internet was abuzz with rumors about likely contenders for the job, including rapper, pop singer , former "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert, Latin singer Enrique Iglesias, teen idol and former Disney star Miley Cyrus.
12th season of “American Idol” will return in January.