After three months of speculation, the judges for Fox’s singing show’s 11th season have been announced.
Mariah Carey has already been announced by American Idol, and now rapper Nicki Minaj and country star Keith Urban are onboard.
Randy Jackson, who had previously left the show as a judge and was reportedly going to become a mentor, is now back at the table. Jackson is Carey’s co-manager. Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine will also continue providing commentary, and Nigel Lythgoe will continue to be executive producer.
Carey, Minaj and Urban replace Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez as judges, who were at the table for two seasons.
Carey’s contract, when allowances for wardrobe, hair and makeup are factored in, will be getting close to $18 million according to reports. Minaj will reportedly get $8 million, and Urban will make half that. Host Ryan Seacrest will get $15 million, and is committed for two more seasons.
Auditions for the show’s 12th season start Sunday in New York, while auditions will also be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, La., and Oklahoma City.
How a cartoonish rapper with a gimmicky name and only a couple of albums out is qualified to judge a major singing competition remains unclear, but keep in mind Ellen Degeneres has also been an idol judge.
American Idol returns in January on Fox.