HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – Top-selling rapper Nicki Minaj and Grammy-winning country singer Keith Urban will be judges on “American Idol,” while Randy Jackson will remain as judge when the Fox Broadcasting singing competition begins its 12th season in January, the network announced today.
Minaj received a best new artist Grammy Award in 2011 and her rapping technique has been praised by critics for its use of alter-egos, accents, notably British, and rapid-fire pace.
Urban has won four Grammy Awards and five Academy of County Music Awards and had 14 No. 1 hits.
Jackson is the only judge who has been with the series for its entire run. “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,” said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia, which produces “American Idol.”
“Keith is one of country music’s true stars who brings with him charm, wit and knowledge about the industry.”
Fox announced on July 23 that five-time Grammy-winning singer Mariah Carey would be an “American Idol” judge and confirmed that Jennifer Lopez would not return as a judge after two seasons.
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler announced July 12 that he was leaving as a judge after two seasons. “American Idol’s” record eight consecutive seasons as prime-time television’s most-watched show ended in May.
The Wednesday competition episodes averaged 19.91 million viewers, 23.33 percent less than the 25.97 million average for the 2011 season, when it was television’s most-watched prime-time series.
The Thursday results episodes averaged 18.39 million viewers, 22.96 percent less than the 23.87 million average for 2011 season, when it finished second for the season.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” replaced “American Idol” as television’s most-watched series in the 2011-2012 season, averaging 21.25 million viewers.