A new season of "American Idol" brings a new panel of judges. As fans of the series will know, past judges have each brought a signature style to their evaluation of talent. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban spoke with Zap2It about what they consider their own judging style in a recent interview.
"I like to think of myself more as like a fairy godmother," Carey said. "I don't know that I have a judging style. I really think it's more, I try to speak as frankly as possible -- but as kindly as possible. Not like sugar-coating the whole thing, 'cause that does nobody any good and I think it can be important for people to watch."
Minaj unsurprisingly considers her own evaluation of talent to be more eclectic and unpredictable. "Never a dull moment with my judging style, that's for sure. I never try to plan what I'm going to say or what I'm going to feel," Minaj said. "I just try to stay in the moment and just allow some craziness to come into this room. I mean, it's the entertainment business. We're artists. So if we don't have some craziness and kookiness, then it wouldn't really be real."
Look for country star Urban to take the level-headed approach in the series' 12th season. "I try to not absolutely destroy somebody in front of millions of people," he said. "But at the same time, if someone's not really on -- and everyone at home knows it, that's the difficult part too. It's tricky when someone's just completely murdered a song."
Carey adds, "I feel like my experience as a recording artist and a producer and a writer has helped me get to the point where I can sit there and say, "I'm not sure if you hit this part correctly, because maybe the modulation took you by surprise, or you know, you weren't quite prepared blend that harmony."
Urban sees the show as a potential launching point for serious vocalists looking for a serious opportunity rather than fame-hungry reality stars. "I'm more interested in people that want to sing than be famous or a star. I think that's what you should be driven by. You should be driven by the fact that you want to say something, and you just have to sing. It's just in you to sing," Urban said. "For me, it's just the connection -- I just feel a connection with them. There's something authentic about the way they speak to me. And for me, if any of the emotions are present -- the joy, the vulnerability, the insecurity, the uncertainty, the anger, the whatever it is... If I can feel that in them, I'm interested."
Don't miss the season premiere and the always colorful audition process tonight on Fox!