After weeks of rumor, gossip and quick reversals, FOX has finally made the revamped "American Idol" judges panel official.
Original "Idol" judge Randy Jackson will return, after previous reports that he would continue only as a mentor. He'll be joined by pop diva Mariah Carey, whose hiring was unveiled in the summer, plus Nicki Minaj and country singer Keith Urban.
There are press release quotes aplenty:
FOX reality guru Mike Darnell explains, "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. 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."
"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," states executive producer Simon Fuller. 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."
Adds EP and FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz, "We're ecstatic to welcome Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban to the 'American Idol' family, joining Mariah and Randy at the judges’ table. 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."
The judges will begin seeing auditions for the show's 12th season today in New York City.