‘American Idol’ Judging Panel Includes Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj

The long speculated new American Idol judging panel has now been confirmed, with Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj joining superstar Mariah Carey and returning judge Randy Jackson for the show’s 12th season set to debut in January 2013.

“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,” said Idol Executive Producer Simon Fuller in a statement. “For this we have to thank the ongoing commitment and belief of Fox and the dedication and focus of the Idol production team. We have all been together since the very beginning and we are focused on making Idol season 12 the best ever.”
Urban was long rumored to be in the running for a spot at the Idol table, and will likely help increase Nashville’s overall visibility (in addition to his own) with the high-profile TV gig. Urban also recently stepped down from his judging spot on The Voice Australia.
“It’s really an honor to have been invited to be a part of the American Idol family,” said Urban of the announcement. “I’m looking forward to working with everyone and to seeing the same passion that I have for music in all of the participants.”
Idol hopefuls will begin meeting the four judges and host Ryan Seacrest today (9/16) at auditions in New York City. Other audition stops include Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, and Oklahoma City.

Ryan Seacrest tweeted pic stating, "After some musical chairs, here's how the new American Idol judges will be seated."

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