By Rebecca Thomas
On Sunday (September 16), it was confirmed that the flamboyant MC had inked a deal with the Fox show, in the wake of departures by Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez after season 11.
While Minaj will bring the hip-hop flavor, superstar Keith Urban will bring much-needed country music bona fides to a show that has in recent years seen its fair share of country contenders, from megastar Carrie Underwood to respective season 10 winner and runner-up, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina.
The search for a new panel was months in the making, with a number of established and upcoming stars rumored to be in talks or named on the "Idol" wish-list, including Nick Jonas, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus. Others openly lobbied for the gig, like alum Adam Lambert, who earlier this summer told reporters in the U.K. that he would "jump at the chance" if asked.
With the addition of Nicki and Urban, the panel would seem to have filled every available seat: Back in July, Mariah Carey announced that she would indeed be sitting behind the table on "American Idol" for season 12, and her longtime pal and "AI" veteran Randy Jackson agreed to stay on as a judge after buzz that he might be ushered into a mentoring role. In fact, according to an "Idol" press release, the four-member panel, along with host Ryan Seacrest, will be on hand to meet hopefuls at Sunday's New York City auditions.
Salary reports for the two newest additions have yet to hit the Net, but Carey, 42, will reportedly earn $17 million for one season, which puts her just above the reported $15 million Britney Spears is taking in for her role on ex-"Idol" judge Simon Cowell's "X Factor."
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