Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are joining "American Idol" as judges for the singing competition show's 12th season, Fox announced today (Sept. 16). They will be sitting at the judges' table alongside Mariah Carey and returning judge Randy Jackson.
Minaj's role on the show has long been rumored, with multiple seats opening on the panel this year after two-season judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler both left the show. There was previous speculation that Urban could be named a judge, although Nick Jonas, Pharrell Williams and Enrique Iglesias were also reportedly under consideration.
"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," executive producer Simon Fuller said in a press release.
Earlier this month, country star Urban spoke at Metro Nashville Public School program, and addressed the "American Idol" rumors. "I would love to do it and hopefully that happens," he said. "I did get to do a similar role in Australia for 'The Voice,' and I really enjoyed it. The thing about those shows is that mentoring aspect... it's about passing it on."
The announcement was made at the last possible moment, as all four judges will be filming the show's first auditions today in New York City. Upcoming auditions, hosted by the show's 12-season host Ryan Seacrest, will also be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, San Antonio, Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City.
Carey was added to the panel in June, saying that "it's going to be fun and rewarding to help find new talent and give back with 'American Idol.'" At one point it was rumored that Jackson would be leaving the judges' table to act as a mentor, however Fox has confirmed that he will be returning as a judge for his 12th season on the show.
The series returns to Fox's primetime schedule in January, after the network's other singing competition series, Simon Cowell's "X Factor," wraps.