American Idol fans who felt Jennifer Lopez was just too subtle and quiet are in luck, as The Hollywood Reporter announced that FOX confirmed Nicki Minaj as J.Lo's replacement for season 12 of the singing competition. Veteran country singer/"What'shisname, that guy who married Nicole Kidman" Keith Urban has also signed on, beating out Brad Paisley for the "country role." Randy Jackson, the sole original judge left from the first season, will also return as judge, quelling rumors that he may switch to a mentoring role. The trio will join Mariah Carey, who signed on in July to presumably chastise each contestant for their lack of melisma.
Minaj will reportedly make $8 million as part of her one-year contract, far less than Carey's reported $18 million but double what Urban, who quit his job as judge on the Australian version of The Voice last week, is set to make. Host Ryan Seacrest will also return for his previously announced $15 million a year.
“Nicki’s an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop,” Fox’s president of alternative Mike Darnell said in a statement. “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.”
Last month, those ubiquitous "unnamed sources" that always seem to pop up around this time told US Weekly that Minaj was "100% confirmed," yet no official word was given by either Minaj or FOX. Seacrest tweeted out the news earlier this morning, adding that "everyone gave a heartfelt toast about being on the show after we ate last night. Cant wait to see the first contestants today."
Auditions are set to begin Sunday night in New York, with new episodes expected to air in January.