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OFFICIAL ‘AMERICAN IDOL’ JUDGES LIST RELEASED: MARIAH CAREY, RANDY JACKSON, KEITH URBAN + NICKI MINAJ ON PANEL

by: Jessica Sager

American Idol judges

Good news for ‘American Idol‘ fans! The official list of judges has finally been released. Who will grace the stage?

Everyone you thought! Mariah Carey was the first judge officially announced (and the highest paid judge in reality TV history, pocketing a cool $18 million for one season), and now we know for sure that she will be joined byRandy JacksonNicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban.

Ryan Seacrest tweeted a photo with the newly complete panel, writing, “It’s official, your new #IdolJudges are @MariahCarey, @NickiMinaj, @KeithUrban & @Yo_RandyJackson!”

Though each of the judges were all heavily rumored to be taking on the roles, this is the first official confirmation for anyone other than Carey. There were snafus along the way for Jackson, who was originally slated to take on a mentoring role and leave the judges’ table in favor of Enrique Iglesias, but entered the arena once more last week. Minaj also faced some difficulties with her contract, as ‘Idol’ is sponsored by Coca-Cola and the Harajuku Barbie reps for the competitor, Pepsi.

Following the exits of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, producers were scrambling to fill the empty seats at the table. Others who were in talks to join the panel included Nick Jonas, who seemed enthusiastic about the role,Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg), Justin Bieber, previous ‘Idol’ runner up Adam LambertPharrell Williams and Katy Perry, who made no secret of the cash she was offered and seemed to take pride in rejecting the role.

The judging job takes a lot of commitment both in terms of dedication to the position as well as scheduling, so any stars who planned on going on tour would have had to adjust their itineraries to suit the shooting schedule — and most musicians make the bulk of their income from touring, though the endorsements that ‘Idol’ can encourage will grant pretty pennies as well. (Think of J. Lo and those Venus razors — you know she made big bucks there.) That said, it’s understandable why the show runners had so much difficulty narrowing down their short list of judges.

Minaj had been a guest judge on ‘Idol’ previously, and Urban has experience on ‘The Voice: Australia,’ so they seem like great fits for the show. Here’s hoping Mimi likes to share the spotlight!

Are you excited for the next ‘Idol’ season? Which judge is your favorite? Who would you have on your ideal ‘American Idol’ panel?

OFFICIAL ‘AMERICAN IDOL’ JUDGES LIST RELEASED: MARIAH CAREY, RANDY JACKSON, KEITH URBAN + NICKI MINAJ ON PANEL

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