After weeks of speculation, Young Money’s Nicki Minaj will add some flavor to the upcoming season of “American Idol” by taking part as one of the music reality show’s judges.
Reports of the $12 million deal surfaced online late Sunday (September 16) evening.
The “American Idol” judges’ panel is now complete with the naming of singer-rapper Nicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban. The Fox network officially tapped the pair with an announcement Sunday, confirming rumors surrounding them both just hours before the first round of auditions for next season was due to begin in New York. Minaj is getting $12 million for a one-year deal on the hit Fox singing series, a person in the music industry with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the deal. (Wall Street Journal)
Executives behind “American Idol” have also confirmed the deal.
Not long after last season’s “Idol” finale, with its traditional crowning of the Cute Scruffy White Guy with Guitar (Phil Phillips), attracted the smallest wrapup audience in the show’s history, Fox execs promised investors and TV critics the show would undergo a shakeup. And “shakeup” has come to mean bringing in a new crop of celebrity judges. “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,” said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, the chief executive of “Idol”-producing FremantleMedia, by way of explaining the new judges. (Washington Post)
Despite impressive overall numbers, the series could use a boost in certain areas.
“American Idol” ended the 2011-12 season as the leading entertainment show and No. 2 overall, just behind NBC’s top-rated “Sunday Night Football.” But the show aired its least-watched finale ever and the advertiser-favored young adult audience has been steadily shrinking. The show’s cachet hasn’t been helped by a run of champions who have failed to achieve the career sizzle of past competitors Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson. (Associated Press)
Last year, former “Idol” judge Simon Cowell tried to snag Minaj for his “X-Factor” show.
“I can’t talk about that, but I love Simon very dearly,” the Lil Wayne protégé answered in a British accent. “He’s such an amazing man. I had the pleasure of meeting him and my life will never be the same, darling. I told him that. I was absolutely in love with him prior to meeting him. And now that I’ve met him, it’s like I dream about him every night.” (MTV)
Check out coverage of Nicki Minaj snagging an “American Idol” spot below: