Global icon Mariah Carey and music industry veteran Randy Jackson welcome renowned singer Nicki Minaj and country music superstar Keith Urban to judges' table
When "American Idol's" 12th season debuts in January 2013, superstar judge Mariah Carey - the best-selling female recording artist of all time - and returning judge Randy Jackson, a Grammy-winning producer whose expertise and beloved persona have been instrumental in discovering "American Idol" talent from the beginning, will be joined by two new judges: quadruple-platinum singer, songwriter, rapper and fashion icon Nicki Minaj; and Keith Urban, a four-time Grammy winner who has sold more than 15 million albums.
Hopefuls will meet host Ryan Seacrest and the new four-person panel of Carey, Jackson, Minaj and Urban Sunday, when the auditions begin in New York City. Other audition cities include Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City.
Carey is a multiple Grammy-winning global superstar with more than 200 million records sold worldwide and more No. 1 songs than any solo artist in history. Her 18 Billboard No. 1 singles (17 of which Carey wrote) rival all but The Beatles. Jackson is a Grammy-winning producer who has worked on more than 1,000 gold and multi-platinum albums, which have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. His talent, vast studio knowledge, performing, touring and record company experience have made him one of today's most coveted music industry experts. 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 for 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."
"We're ecstatic to welcome Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban to the 'American Idol' family, joining Mariah and Randy at the judges' table," said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia. "Nicki is someone who represents a different side of the music industry, who has now crossed into mainstream culture with her unique artistry, style and flair. Keith is one of country music's true stars who brings with him charm, wit and knowledge about the industry."
"American Idol" has been the No. 1 entertainment program among total viewers for the past nine consecutive seasons. To date, "American Idol" alums have produced 356 No. 1 Billboard hits and garnered nearly 250 million iTunes downloads. Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips' first single, "Home," which was released May 23, has been certified platinum. Last year, season 10 winner Scotty McCreery released his debut album "Clear As Day," which dominated the Billboard Country Albums chart and has gone platinum, selling more than one million copies. McCreery is the youngest male artist to ever enter the U.S. albums charts at the No. 1 spot.