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 Award-winning producer whose expertise and beloved persona have been instrumental in discovering 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 Award 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 today, 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 Award-winning global superstar with more than 200 million records sold worldwide and more No. 1 songs than any solo artist in history, whose 18 Billboard No. 1 singles (17 of which Carey wrote) rival all but The Beatles. Jackson is a Grammy Award-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 amazing 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, 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 Cécile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, 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."
Executive producer Simon Fuller noted, "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. 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 American Idol Season 12 the best ever."
"Idol has truly never looked better," said Marc Graboff, President of CORE Media Group (owner, 19 Entertainment). "We couldn't be more pleased about this new team of judges, and, along with our Partners at FOX and Fremantle, look forward to a terrific Season 12."
Visit AmericanIdol.com for exclusive videos, interviews and photos, as well as special behind-the-scenes information and all of your American Idol news. "Like" American Idol on Facebook at Facebook.com/AmericanIdol. Follow the series on Twitter @AmericanIdol and join the discussion at #idol. Follow host Ryan Seacrest at @RyanSeacrest, and follow the judges: @MariahCarey; @yo_randyjackson; @nickiminaj; and @keithurban.