Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ryan Seacrest
Katie Couric didn't lead us astray: Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are the newest American Idol judges! Three days after Couric accidentally spilled the beans during an interview with Jennifer Lopez, Idol host Ryan Seacrest made the formal announcement over Twitter.
"It's official, your new #IdolJudges are@MariahCarey, @NickiMinaj, @KeithUrban& @Yo_RandyJackson!" Seacrest tweeted on Sunday, along with a candid photo of the new crew at a restaurant.
"Everyone gave a heartfelt toast about being on the show after we ate last night," Seacrest added. "Cant wait to see the first contestants today."
As soon as the cat was out of the bag, the new judges began celebrating on Twitter. "SO excited to be joining the team on @AmericanIdol!!!!!!" wrote Urban, who quit his gig on Australia's The Voice to move on to Idol. Minaj immediately began updating her Twitter followers on auditions, praising the talent and posting a photo of her first-day judging outfit (complete with turquoise lace-up platform shoes). To a follower who asked, "Are you a mean judge," the rapper-singer responded only, "Hahahaha!"
Mariah Carey, the first new judge to come on board this season, was celebrating more than one milestone on Sunday. "Backstage on my first day of #idol which also happens to be the anniversary of my album BUTTERFLY! L4L!" the diva tweeted. Posting online from the New York auditions, she mentioned that there have been "several classic moments so far" (and from the "lol" at the end, we're guessing they weren't classic in a good way!).
Randy Jackson is also happy to be returning, after much speculation about whether he'd remain at the judge's table. "We are back! its on!" the longtime judge tweeted on Sunday.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carey will be earning close to $18 million for her year on American idol, making her the highest-paid singing judge on TV. (Lopez made $15 million for judging Idol last season, which is reportedly what Britney Spears is making this year on The X Factor). Minaj will reportedly make $12 million by sitting at the judge's table, and Urban will be raking in $6 million. Not bad for less than a year's work!
The show will continue to hold auditions across the country over the coming weeks. Season 12 of American Idol premieres in January.
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