Nicki Minaj Joins ‘American Idol’ as Judge
Eccentric hip-hop star Nicki Minaj is reportedly American Idol‘s newest judge, alongside five-time Grammy winner Mariah Carey for season 12.
The news comes after Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and entertainer Jennifer Lopez left the judging panel in July. Us Weekly first reported the news on Monday, saying two sources exclusively confirmed Minaj’s Idol role.
Her heavyweight digital presence would give a big social media boost to American Idol. Most recently, she teamed up with Pepsi to live stream a concert in which people tweeting about it would have the chance to see their messages featured on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square.
Idol has had seven judges in its 11 seasons, including the original trio of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi, Lopez and Tyler also have had judging stints.
Minaj has performed on Idol in the past, including her hit “Starships” during season 11. Her 2010 debut album,Pink Friday, and this year’s Roman Reloaded both peaked at No. 1 on Billboard‘s albums chart.
Fox Broadcasting has yet to confirm the addition of Minaj or the return of veteran Idol judge Jackson. If true, Minaj would partner with Carey, who has more number one Billboard singles (18) than any solo artist in history.
“Mariah Carey is the real deal,” Fox’s Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, said in a previous statement. “Not only is she one of the best-selling artists and performers on the planet and one of the world’s most gifted vocalists, she also is a successful songwriter, record producer and actress.”
Singer Nick Jonas and rapper Pharrell Williams are rumored to be in the running for judging roles, too, while Us Weekly says Jackson will become a mentor instead of staying on as a judge.
Competing televised singing shows have undergone judging and mentoring shake-ups as well.
On Fox’s The X Factor, global pop stars Britney Spears and Demi Lovato are now on the judges table, replacing Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.
On NBC’s The Voice, Green Day rocker Billie Joe Armstrong, Michael Buble, Mary J. Blige and Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas round out the show’s star-studded cast. They join judges Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green.