Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban Joining Mariah & Randy on Idol: What Do We Want From Them?

Keith Urban Nicki Minaj American IdolThe worst-kept secret in television is finally out of the see-through bag. Country superstar Keith Urban and rapper/singer/devotee of unsettling wigs Nicki Minaj will join pop diva Mariah Carey and Randy “Him Again?” Jackson on the American Idol Season 12 judges’ panel, a Fox spokesperson confirmed today.

“Nicki’s an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop. And Keith is another great addition to Idol – he’s one of the biggest stars in country music and I know that our fans and contestants will fall in love with him,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment for Fox, in a release. “With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favorite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan [Seacrest], we’ve put together one of the most exciting judging panels around.”

It’s never easy to predict how well (or how disastrously) any first-time reality show judge will fare — especially under the intense pressure of a live telecast (and a rowdy studio audience). Who’d have thunk Ellen DeGeneres, a veteran host of the Academy Awards and the Emmys, would shut down like an iPhone in a swimming pool when asked to dole out succinct, honest critiques to the likes of Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban?

With that cautionary tale in mind, I thought I’d dole out a little bit of friendly advice to Urban and Minaj as they embark on their “Idol journeys,” boiling it down to four bullet points apiece that they can print out and bring with them to the first round of Season 12 callbacks in New York City on Sunday afternoon. (For the record, I’m vehemently opposed to a four-person panel — there’s already too much yapping and not enough singing with three — but why gripe about what cannot be changed, no?) Without further ado…

Keith Urban
* Honesty is the best policy | Pundits and prognosticators often argue that established recording artists don’t want to be viewed as “mean” or “discouraging” to wannabe singers, but I’d say it’s far more damaging to a judge’s public persona to be viewed as a serial enabler, or even worse, as patently dishonest. Let’s face it: Very few people are born with enough talent to make a living as professional vocalists. So is there really a greater act of kindness from a judge than (sensitively) cutting short a mediocre singer’s deluded hopes of being the next Sinatra or Knowles?

* A little homespun humor helps the medicine go down | As Blake Shelton has proven on The Voice, it’s possible to give negative feedback without making a contestant feel like you just performed open-heart surgery without anesthesia. If you can make a contestant chuckle, or better yet bring him in on the joke with you, then everybody wins.

* Somebody needs to steer the contestants toward offbeat song choices and interesting arrangements — and that someone is probably going to have to be you | The last couple of seasons, Idol judges seemed to place less importance on contestants turning well-known songs upside down, a la David Cook’s “Always Be My Baby” or Adam Lambert’s “Ring of Fire,” producing fewer water-cooler moments for the show. For the love of Randy Jackson’s “Yo!” pins, never forget that fresh renditions of familiar hits will always and forever generate more buzz and higher ratings than the umpteenth karaoke rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.”

* Know your Idol history | We all know Idol judges have access to dress rehearsals, so be sure to use one of your assistants (or Google) every week to give you the low-down on whether any of the songs being covered have resulted in prior Idol Moments (i.e. “Summertime” or “Alone”) or full-scale nuclear meltdowns (“Against All Odds,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”). Sure, not everybody cares about season-to-season comparisons, but there’s nothing wrong with throwing an occasional bone to the Idoloonie nation.

* [BONUS TIP] If your budget for highlights is greater than Nicki or Mariah’s, keep it to yourself | This rule is kind of self-explanatory, no?

Nicki Minaj
* Check your filter at the door | It’s been a long time since Idol audiences felt like the show’s judges weren’t offering up critiques coated in 50 shades of sugar. If you’re brave enough to bring brazen honesty back to the live telecasts, it’ll go down like a glass of cold water to the parched Idol audience, and possibly make you the most popular judge on television.

* Recognize that your job is, at least to the Idol faithful, serious business | Yes, we know your chair at the Idol judges’ table is the one labeled “crazy she-beast,” but you won’t succeed in your new job just by being outrageous just for outrageousness’ sake. Start by paying strict attention to the performances going on in front of you, then share your visceral, unfiltered opinions about what you’ve just heard. You can get away with just about anything, as long as we know you care as much as we do about discovering and shaping the next generation of music stars.

* When in doubt about what to say to contestants, remember that less is almost always more | Watch some tapes of Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson giving feedback in Season 11. Note the irritating way it often took them two or three minutes to get to the point of their critiques (or something sort of resembling a point). Then make a vow that you’ll never fall into the trap of thinking the Idol audience will somehow view every one of your words as a glistening pearl. To put it another way, treat your critiques like Usain Bolt in the 4×100 relay: Be quick and exciting, then pass that damn baton to the person next to you.

* Your gut instinct should always trump the whims of Idol producers | Nigel Lythgoe & Co. always claim they don’t have an agenda about which contestants they’d like to make it to the finale, but that seems about as likely as Obama and Romney secretly playing Words With Friends on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, the last two seasons of Idol found the judges adhering to said agenda so carefully, that there was almost never any disagreement among the panel about the quality of performances — a trend that was boring at best, and incredibly frustrating at worst. So please, don’t be afraid to follow the script in your heart rather than the one typed for you on Uncle Nigel’s stationery. You might only last one season, but what a fun season it’ll be!

What do you think of Minaj and Urban joining Idol? Any additional tips you’d like to give them before they step into their new roles? Sound off in the comments! And for all my reality TV news, interviews, opinions, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. adam says:

    what do we want from them? in nicki’s case: just go away

    • Kim R says:

      I’m so glad I stopped watching Idol after the Haley Reinhart debacle. :)

    • Amy says:


      I do love the KU choice…however, not the overall combination this year. Would have loved to see Shania Twain and Keith Urban…tho’ I realize two from the Country genre was not likely to happen…still she was a great, credible, down-to-earth & “real” guest judge a few years ago and believe her chemistry with KU, judgewise/music-wise, would have been good. But AI is going for more edgy, eclectic, pop than what I’m looking for apparently in this choice.

      Cannot stand NM.

      • I’m a kinda “let’s wait and see” kinda person. We know her personality a little bit, but we don’t know she will translate on the show. I’m interested in seeing the Mariah Carey/Nicki Minaj interaction. Don’t really follow country, so don’t know much about Keith Urban other than he is a big country star and married to Nicole Kidman. I’m curious also to see how he’ll do. I don’t know, it’s a 12 year old show, they are trying to keep it current, can’t blame them for trying. We’ll see if this mix of people can generate some buzz and find a great artist. That’s the hope I guess.

      • Patrick says:

        Why the hell is Randy back on the panel? How did this happen! Should have kept it to three judges, and they should have been Katy Perry, Kanye West and Dolly Parton. NEXT!

        • Debra says:

          Katy Perry and Kanye West? Really? I thought one should have at least some talent in order to judge a “talent” show – neither Katy nor Kanye have that “T” word. They both SUCK. That’s all.

          • the girl says:

            Actually, Kanye has a lot of talent. You may not like him as a rap artist or lyricist, but he was a producer first and has produced some of the best hip-hop over the last fifteen years, working with some of the most amazing artists in the industry. I believe that’s the experience he could have brought to Idol, which gives him the ability to assist contestants with recreating songs with unique arrangements. And while I never thought of it before now, I would have liked to see that happen.

        • Yo' says:

          Agreed. And to Selzak’s “why fix what can not be changed?” OF COURSE it can be changed: Just give Randy a different job, which is what woulda happened if Enrique Inglesias had accepted.

        • djm says:

          I laughed out loud when Randy was described as “fan favorite” – if that is a true statement it explains why I no longer watch the show.

          • FreeHaley says:

            +1 I actually used to like him but man. He has been slipping and the Haley season and parts of last season just totally showed him up. Either he has sadly lost it or he is willing to become the ultimate spinless puppet for Nigel, not sure which is truth, but something is wrong.

          • FreeHaley says:

            I skipped more than half of last season because the whole thing just became such a messed up cruel farce of judging the season before. And Randy was a huge part of that, whether by letting himself be controlled or just losing all of his senses.

          • MB says:

            I always liked Randy till he treated Haley like such crap last year and what he did to Phillip this year was not so nice either. When JLo and Steven said they did not like a performance Randy made it like he was going to disagree with them and then made this big production how he did not like it either. I even forget which song it was. I think it was I got a disease. He was never cruel before but the last couple of years he has gotten cruel. Plus he is always name dropping. Who ever heard of Randy before Idol but if you listen to him he was best friends with everyone and did everything. Lets hope he gets his act together this year. Idol is my favorite out of all the singing competitions because in spite of the lousy judges it always produces singers that I wind up loving and following way after the show is over.

          • Oscar says:

            I think the problem with Randy is that he’s been trying to bring in some “Simon”, which doesn’t work for him. The lighting in the bottle judges panel was:
            -Simon: Crass producer looking for fresh, but commercial, talent
            -Paula: Ditzy performer who focused more on the passion and energy than the performance.
            -Randy: Technician who focused on the execution, commenting on the pitch and missed notes.
            Usually these guys would be in complete disagreement with what they saw. Now you’ve basically got four liked it / didn’t like it with Randy trying to force a spark somewhere.
            No where in this new lineup do I see that kind of chemistry developing.

          • FreeHaley says:

            Part of the reason it didn’t work for him, although not all, is that he picked liked their best contestants at times as the ones to rudely call out! WTH! It’s like on the one hand they didn’t want to criticize too much any more and damage talent since recent winner sales had been low but they need to criticize someone so they just decided to pick on whoever they didn’t originally have their eye on and they end up damaging the show more than just being flat out honest across the board. They are calling performances with barely a single note hit stunning and then ripping down people for being uneven for merely having only one of the best instead of both of the best performances of the night. Give me a break. Pathetic.

        • tralala says:

          I would have never, EVER thought of that judge soup, but actually, the combo would be magnificent.

    • M. Murphy says:

      I completely agree with you and while Nicki is going away maybe she can take “dawg” with her. It’s time for Randy to leave the show with all of his 60’s and 70’s talk. Both my 65-year old sister and this 73-year old both said we would never leave our TVs all season with Idol if they had put Adam Lambert on the judges’ panel. He would have done a wonderful job as he demonstrated when he was a mentor on the show. Nicki is a ridiculous role model for the young people coming on the show and should never have been considered.

      • Edward says:

        I chuckled when i read “Fan Favorite” Randy.

        • Lunakit says:

          Right?! I was hopeful when there were reports that he would not be on the panel this year.
          How exhausting is it going to be to listen to 3 critiques and THEN have to listen to Randy. I hope he does not bat clean up on that panel…

        • Princess Adora says:

          Yeah, I rolled my eyes there, but they have to give him something. And it could be true! I’m sure that out of ALL the fans of AI, at least one of them likes Randy Jackson. He’s a fan favorite, we’re not sure which fan likes him, but I’m certain one of them does :)

          • Louie says:

            The only fan I can imagine not hating randy is the kind that blows air.
            Honestly, Randy must have some pretty juicy dirt on Nigel to keep his job this long

          • FreeHaley says:

            @Louie – hah, actually part of me thinks it might be the other way around, maybe it is all Randy, but sometimes I feel it can’t be and maybe he is just a puppet tool of Nigel and would never judge the way he has been judging lately given his own free will, who knows

      • Mary says:

        I am not thrill with Nickki but it is time to get over it ADAM is not a judge. You do not know if he would of been a good judge. Judging is different then mentoring. I watch for the contestants and I hope they pick a good group. If you are a true fan of the show mute the judges and enjoy the contestants like it should be.

      • Greg says:

        You are right. The reliable American Idol fans who showed up over 20 million strong for the 2011 final hate Minaj. They love Adam Lambert. Many of the older fans think of Adam as the modern day Elvis. These millions of fans will not watch a show with Minaj instead of Adam. It is an insult to the old fans to have a vulgar, Auto Tuned rapper instead of a man with the best voice of this generation as a judge. American Idol dug its own grave.

        • adamwins says:

          I totally agree greg- Also, it’s a slap in the face to adam (where he wanted it and they picked that no-talented autotune freak instead of Adam. For that alone, I will not be watching!

        • Sherry says:

          Greg I agree with every word in your comment. There are people commenting on here about ppl. that weren’t even considered as a judge and are completely out of touch with reality and what is required to be a good judge. Nicki Minaj is definitely the worst possible choice for that panel. How can a rapper judge musical talent when they can’t sing. American Idol has been making poor business decisions for several yrs now. After S8 I stopped watching as no one will ever match Adam Lambert’s knowledge, experience and performance skills. I for one will never watch that show again.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        Do you think the fact that they are trying 4 again has to do with the fact that The Voice and X Factor both have 4 judges?

      • Wendy Wood says:

        My family stopped watching the show when Adam didn’t win. Really, it was so obvious. Prejudice…but the panel they picked this year….oh lord..I’m done. Enjoyed watching you Randy but there are only so many “dawgs” ya can take. If Adam had been picked we would have watched every show. Sorry AI…good bye and I have to get this in ..Scotty McCreery. REALLY,,,,,REALLY… the end is coming.

    • Jules says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I will not watch with that untalented freak show as a “judge”. Huge mistake by AI!!!

      • Margaret says:

        American Idol has been my favorite show since Kelly C. was the first winner.

        Nicki M. Is so vulgar and disgusting when she performs and in almost every photo posted on the Internet. I have yet to hear her actually SING; just raps filthy lyrics.

        This is a show about creating an “Idol” that fans can love to listen to and admire. Why would someone of her caliber be chosen to judge these young people and seemingly be a roll model? So disappointed.

        • anonymous says:

          I completely agree. especially after her performance at the grammy’s.I’m not watching AI this year because of her. bad move american idol, bad move.

    • olivia says:


      • penny says:

        Keith Urban has been performing since he was 8 years old which means he has been “doing this” for 36 years. He is a veritable human jukebox of all genres. He did great on The Voice Australia last year. No doubt he will do great this year as the most knowledgable musical talent on there.

    • Curly Girly says:

      My thoughts exactly!! I will no longer be watching Idol. What a train wreck.

    • Mary Brenan says:

      Agree completely…this is the year I don’t watch..How can she judge talent when she hasn’t got any, much less much of anything else

  2. shuayb says:

    Good lord! Minaj and Urban? Are they trying to copy the voice? Granted Minaj is no Xtina but they dress wierd and provocatively. Whatever. I prefer the voice.

  3. itsmemartu says:

    And I believed that there could never, ever be anything worse than Britney being judge at The X Factor. Boy, I was so wrong…

    • iMember says:

      Except, so far Britney is doing a REALLY good job. Same with Demi Lovato.

      • Lauren says:

        Britney is the best thing about the X-Factor. I wish she was going to be on American Idol instead, I much prefer it to the X-Factor. I’m only watching the X-Factor because I wanted to see how Britney and Demi did as judges. Britney is hilarious. I thought she was going to be mushy and sweet, I love that she is just brutally honest.

      • Yo' says:

        I don’t get it. Britney has barely said anything on the X Factor, and what she has said is far from helpful criticism.

        • deedee says:

          So far, I’ve only seen Britney make disgusted/confused faces, and Demi speak Valley Girl while squeezing a lone tear from her right eye.

    • Ally Oop says:

      Were we watching the same X-Factor? Brittany has been so boring on the show. She appears washed out and weak.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Actually Britney has been one the brightest spots on the x-factor, she’s been judging every way that Randy has not, concise, fair and honest. And you gotta love her faces hah.
      I know the new x-factor panel was easy for many to mock beforehand but give it look, they are doing it right.

  4. jeff says:

    Keith was a judge on The Voice Australia

  5. sara says:

    Yuck. No thanks. There was a time Idol used to be about the contestants. Clearly, not any more. I’ll pass on this train wreck, thanks.

    • tomi says:

      Yep. It’s now all about the “judges” promoting their own careers. At least on The Voice, the stars and coaches/mentors and have a stake in their team’s success. Blake has hired a couple of his and Dia Frampton toured with him, Javier Colon toured South America with Maroon 5, CeeLo recorded with Vicci Martinez…the only good note, they did need someone with a country background ont he panel.

      • Mary says:

        Are you serious. The voice is all about the judges hell with the contestants. Even Adam Levine said it does not matter if the winner makes it. AI at least promotes their winner and helps them try to succeed. The only thing the voice has done is help their judges promote their music.

    • Kim R says:

      Exellent point.

    • Amy says:

      I’ve said it before (after Daughtry) and lied. Though glad I did…greatly enjoyed Seasons 7 and 10 since then, and am still loyal fans of Idols from both seasons…but may have to mean it this year.
      You said it best sara…”No thanks”…to “this train wreck” this year. …Tho’…will sure miss the entertainment here…you DO have to watch to enjoy Idology. But I waste any of my life sittin’ through a bad season of AI for it.

  6. Alyssa says:

    Keith isn’t a first time reality judge. He was a judge on The Voice in Australia.

  7. Sherry says:

    Michael you want honesty okay I’ll give it to you. If the AI producers and Fox Exec could have tried to search the country for the worst possible judges to be on their panel they have succeeded. If all they want now is Urban & Country music lovers to tune in they have succeeded. The biggest disappointment is NM. She doesn’t bring any credibility to the show with all her antics on TV and at Superbowl last season not to mention her cursing out of her own fans via twitter. Keith is a nice guy but not going to help get more viewers. They now have almost certainly succeeded in losing their core mainstream America viewing audience. I know many that have already said if NM is on that panel they wouldn’t watch.

    • adamluv1000 says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. I wish they would have chosen Adam Lambert as I am a huge fan and he is very articulate and smart and educated about music. However, I understand that the majority of fans don’t want him either. You are so totally correct about AI losing viewers because of the Minaj selection. She brings nothing productive to the table. The mainstream America viewers are surely gone plus all the Adam fans. Wonder who will watch now? Even the country fans are saying they like Keith Urban but don’t want to tolerate Minaj. And who said Randy is everyone’s favorite? He has been the butt of jokes for years. Oh well, their choice. I won’t be watching unless Adam is singing on the show. I’m not just bitter about him not being a judge. I would have watched if they chose Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jonas, or Pharrell Williams. Mariah will probably be good but not Randy and Nikki.

      • Greg says:

        You are right. Manaj is so nasty and vulgar. She also has that horrible big ass. I do not ever want to have to see her at all. Nigel Lithgoe calls the judges “adorable”, I call them the end of American Idol.

      • deedee says:

        “The mainstream America viewers are surely gone plus all the Adam fans. Wonder who will watch now?”

        LOL @ “plus all the Adam fans”. Why do you think AI owes the Adam fans Adam as a judge? That’s a preposterous reason to abandon the show.

        Hey, I’m no great fan of Nicki Minaj, but if people are worried about her “vulgarity”, then why did they watch while Steven Tyler was on? Why didn’t they jump ship right after Steven told a 16 year old girl that she was “hot and humid” in front of her father?

        “Mainsteam America” listens to Top 40 radio, where Nicki Minaj is quite prominent, so I’m *pretty* sure they won’t be reaching for the smelling salts because she’s sitting on the AI panel.

        • Time for Adam fans to say bye-bye. They get our hopes up, then pick this group plus RANDY.
          They need to be brought back to reality. They don’t care what their viewers want they are
          just trying to impress X Factor and The Voice.

        • Greg says:

          You don’t get it. Minaj represents HIp Hop culture. That is not what American Idol is all about. The show was designed to find people who can actually sing. The show has a family following with more people viewing who are over 65 then those under 18. Lithgoe wanted a younger audience to bring in more advertising bucks. He hoped Minaj could do that. In my opinion it will be a big fail because the long term viewers will not watch with someone who represents bad taste and vulgarity. Steven Tyler cussed but he is not vulgar. There is a difference.

      • Kathy Bernhardt says:

        I Agree!!!!!!!!!!

      • Greg says:

        Why would you think that the majority of American Idol fans would not want Adam Lambert as a judge? Adam would have won Season 8 if they did not cheat in Arkansas. Adam is one of the most popular contestants ever on American Idol. The only people who do not like him are those crazy, mean and nasty Allen fans who go to anything written about Adam and spread their hate.

  8. Alyssa says:

    Time for this show to say goodbye…HORRIBLE judges!

  9. Margie Kay says:

    I want the show to go away – oit’s nothing like it used to be. I ill use my TV time to watch a show that’s about the contestants, not the judges.
    Off to watch The Voice!

    • MB says:

      Where is The Voice about the contestants. It is totally about the judges. None of the shows are about the contestants anymore. It is just a matter of which format you prefer. I like the Voice’s blind auditions but really don’t like the show after that.

    • Annie says:

      The voice being about the contestants? That’s the funniest joke that I’ve heard this year.

      • deedee says:

        The Voice and XFactor are ALL about the judges. The judges’ teams; the judges’ houses; the judges’ in-fighting; the judges’ stake in “their” winners.
        Idol is the only show that keeps the judges far from the contestants, with no personal stake in who wins. How the flying f*** can you be a “judge” if you have something to gain or lose from the outcome? Even if the Idol judges are not *really* objective, and even if they follow Nigel’s script, at LEAST they’re not all about winning bragging rights because “their” contestant won, you know? That’s why American Idol is less about the judges than those other two (horrible, imo) shows.

        • FreeHaley says:

          yeah but at least it keep them from throwing say one of the best contestants under the bus to go along with producer’s script for the very fact that they are invested in the contestants….
          which is THE worst thing about Idol, they just say whoever fits producer’s story and some demo and say they are perfect no matter they do and then trash down anyone great who unexpectedly pops up

  10. JC says:

    An idol alumni would have been a better choice than Nicki and Keith anyone from Kelly, Carrie, Jennifer or Adam would have been great! wrong move Idol :(

  11. Jan says:

    Yuck! Urban may be OK but I will never put AI on NM on it. I speak for my whole house when I say that. Oh well…more time for other shows!

    • Summer says:

      Agree completely! Adam Lambert or Kris Allen would have been great judges who both know how bring a sense of artistry to the show. If memory serves, they even both were given credit for helping other contestants arrange songs. IMO, they needed a former contestant and a producer/executive (Cowell, Iovine) in addition to Mariah.

      • Greg says:

        I agree with you. Adam and kris would be better that Minaj and Urban.

        • pmcd says:

          AI more or less got it right. Don’t care for NM, and wish she weren’t there, but she is popular and brings a different type of music to the show. Keith Urban is a great choice as is Mariah. In particular, Keith Urban knows a lot about music. People will like him. Randy brings continuity and he does know music. To have brought a recent contestant on as a judge would have caused a real credibility crisis. Neither Adam Lambert nor (especially) Kris Allen are in any position to be judges. In any case they should be focusing on other matters. People are free to look at many of the singing shows available. None of them come close to AI in my opinion. AI has maintained a really high viewership despite the increase in reality shows and the drop in TV viewers. Not an easy thing to do, especially in the flighty world of pop music.


      • Snsetblaze says:

        Is Jimmy Iovine coming back? I liked his comments.

  12. Derby says:

    What Michael? No advice for Randy? lol I’d love to hear the real story on why they didn’t push him out like they should have.

  13. MB says:

    I must admit I am not thrilled with the chosen judges but I am trying to keep an open mind. I was opposed to Britany and Demi on the XFactor and so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised so I am hoping the same will be true for Idol’s judges. I am okay with all of them except for Nicki. I think she will attract the younger generation but if the voting rules don’t change that could be a disaster. I am just not a fan of her music but cannot deny she is a star and is always on top of the charts. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    • Sherry says:

      Seriously Nicki can’t sing. She tried but realized she couldn’t so she went to rap. She can’t even do that very well. BTW Rap isn’t singing it’s talking to a beat.

  14. Creekkat says:

    What a joke. Won’t be watching this train wreck anymore. Adam Lambert was the best choice. He has been there and could have brought a new perspective to the judging table. But no, they choose to go with this circus. Once again it will be all about the judges & their egos. Feel sorry for the people who watch, who will have to sit through countless performances by these “judges” like we did w Jlo & Steven Tyler. I have watched faithfully since season one, & that ended today. Major fail idol. Hope the shark bites u in the ass as u are jumping over.

    • Ruby says:

      I am right there with you on every single point. I’m off to take this off my DVR right now.

    • Johnny says:

      If you aren’t watching because of a judge, maybe you were never a real fan to begin with.

    • Mary says:

      My god people GET OVER IT ADAM IS NOT A JUDGE!!! I know his fan think he is the greatest thing ever, but he was not chosen. Your statement proves you do not watch for the contestants but for the judges. I am not thrill for NM on the panel but I will just mute her and hope They have a contestant I can get behind and support. I do not think any past contestants should be a judge, mentor maybe but not a judge.

      • Greg says:

        Obviously you do not have very good musical taste. I saw Lambert at Hammersmith with Queen. It was the very best concert I have ever seen, and believe me, I have seen many concerts. Lambert’s voice is one in a hundred million, just like Roger says. Lambert gave me goosebumps like I never felt before. If anyone knows how to sing, it is him!

        • On top of his insane vocal and stage presence, Adam is witty, smart, honest, and on point. He does not mince words, but neither is he mean. He would have provided useful advice to the contestants whose interest he rightfully identified was paramount. Too bad for AI, as Adam was their last hope.

          • Julie says:

            Spot on, couldn’t agree more. Adam has such presence, charisma, warmth but, above all, honesty. The contestants would really have benefitted and grown from his advice – unlike last series where they were all told every performance, no matter how dire, was ‘beautiful’. Just nothing constructive at all, nothing they could take and learn from.

          • ejones says:

            Its a job that is quite awkward on available time, I would have thought its very difficult to arrange a schedule where your a concert performing artist and an AI judge at the same time.

        • Mary says:

          @Greg: I never said Adam could not sing, and who the H..ll are you to judge my musical taste. My statement was that people need to get past that Adam is not going to be a judge. I watch AI for the contestants not the judges and if you don’t watch due to the fact Adam is not on, that is your choice. It is obvious no matter who the judges were going to be, they were not going to please everyone. I watch AI strictly for entertainment and hope I find a artist I can support after the show. If I am lucky I might even find more than one in a season,

  15. Jane Barr says:

    RIP …American Idol

    • Dark Defender says:


    • ben says:

      There is no pleasing anyone. This whole board is an eternal $#%^ session against whatever judges are picked.

      I have the best solution for everybody on this board who spends their time griping about the judge selections. Watch the show for the singers. Mute the judges – DVR it and fastforward them.

      Never again will idol capture the moment that was Simon Cowell turning up on TV screens. It was unexpected and new. But even Simon is old-hat, people moan about him too – I haven’t found a judge that people are consistently saying ‘that judge is great’.

  16. Stacey says:

    Given FOX is very likely going to give Idol TWO hour show blocks for the performance shows every week, from premiere to finale… They don’t have much else unless they strike fire with a show this year. And it helped prevent the true ratings bleed last year with two hour episodes. Although there might be a bump in the ratings due to the new panel. So it will be plenty of time for four judges. I worry for Nicki. I don’t like her. But if she can be critical. And surprise people like Britney is doing on X Factor. I don’t know how Keith was on Austrailian Voice. But he has experience with the audition system. Although Idol is very very different. But then Mariah is a wild card also… As long as they can say, “You suck.” “No.” Give valuable criticism, and ways to get better. Although it’s long said that the stadium feel of Idol prevents from the singers from really hearing what the judges are saying… But I just don’t want the “feel good judging” of the last few years. And also let diverse candidates in this time. And maybe it will be the end of the “White Guy with a guitar” virus of the last few years. Let a girl win please.

  17. julie says:

    How are Urban and Minaj any worse than Aguilera and Shelton? In terms of current success, Minaj and Urban would win that fight. I’m not even really a country fan, but I love Keith Urban — he is funny and charming and he is a fantastic live performer. I saw him when he brought Kris Allen on tour with him, and he rocked the venue. He is a HUGE star in country music, much bigger than Blake Shelton, and since there have been a lot of country music contestants on Idol of late, I think having a country music superstar as a judge makes a ton of sense.

    I don’t like Nicki Minaj’s music very much, but you can’t argue that she is a HUGE star right now. If she can be fun and entertaining and give honest critiques without being too OTT whacko, I think she’ll be a good judge. There’s a possibility she’ll be a trainwreck, but that’s a possibility with anyone.

    I don’t care at all about Mariah or Randy. Zzzzzz

    Overall, this panel isn’t any worse than the ones on XF or The Voice. My biggest hope is that they give honest critiques, don’t necessarily follow Nigel, et al’s company line about pimping certain contestants, and, most of all, keep the focus more on the actual contestants than on the judges.

    • Ruby says:

      Their success doesn’t matter. It’s all about their personalities. Nicki Minaj is the most annoying celebrity on the planet, and the show will suffer for it. I don’t care about Urban, but at least Blake Shelton is charming, and handsome and funny and it’s fun to watch him and Adam Levine bounce off each other. Keith Urban has always seeemed very devoid of personality, so I don’t see much coming of him.

      • Max says:

        Well then, you were never able to see Keith on The Voice in Australia. He was fantastic! Much better than Blake here on the American version. He’s got style, talent and heart, but he can let a contestant know the truth without hurting their feelings. He’s also a walking encyclopedia of ALL music. Tune in – you will see.

  18. Annie says:

    Great advice, especially the one about the judges not being afraid to disagree with one another. That is something that was sorely missing over the past two years, and something that made the contestants look mediocre. What’s so special about getting a golden ticket, if everyone is getting one, no matter how bad they sound.

    I like this panel, they could be a lot of fun, just as long as the producers don’t feel the need to mess with them too much. That’s asking a lot from Nigel and company, but hopefully the judges’ individual personalities will stand out. When they all sound the same, or sound like they are repeating what the producers want them to say things can be very boring.

  19. Stormy says:

    It doesn’t matter. In the end, the only thing that will save Idol is a change they refuse to make, changing the voting policy. You could bring in Jon Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Adam lambert and the winner would still end up being a WGWG. The drop in the ratings and the lack of enthusiasm is due to loss of faith that our votes can overcome the maniacal texters. Limit the voting to 5 or 10 votes per device and it would make all the difference. Those power voters aren’t going to buy more than one CD or concert ticket, or Ford. What’s the point?

    • Jenny says:

      Completely agree. Until there is a limit on votes there will be no real change. Also too this how had just become a karaoke contest. It has gone downhill since the season with Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. Every performance production is over the top When it is just a karaoke performance on who can scream one note higher and longer than anyone else.

      But I was done with ths show the minute NM was just rumored to be a judge.

    • karenc says:

      Those power voters aren’t going to buy more than one CD or concert ticket, or Ford.

      For almost all of the WGWG winners, they did end up selling the most on their seasons, even so far this year, Phillip has been by far the biggest seller. So if sales are an indicator of who would really win, almost every year the past 5 years, the winner did have the highest sales.

      • Stormy says:

        Wrong! Crystal outsold Lee, Adam outsold Kris by far. And he didn’t get the hoopla of being the winner. And if your argument did hold water, then there would be no reason to object to limiting the voting.

        • karenc says:

          That’s why I said almost all. Lee did sell as much as if not more idol songs as Crystal did.

        • Greg says:

          With a limited voting system Allen could not have cheated and Adam would have won. The joke is that last year they had 29% less viewers than the year before and had 132 million votes for the final. Thousand of people voted thousands of times! Who cares who wins with that set up?

        • Greg says:

          You are correct. We all know that Kris Allen got 38 million votes from the University of Central Arkansas from phones given out by AT&T. Adam sold more that three times as many albums than Kris. Lee won because Simon pushed for his win as an FU to Idol.

          • Mary says:

            It has been three years Greg get over it. How old are you? You statement is idiotic. How could Kris cheat when he was in LA doing the show. You can believe what you want to believe but what about the other 62 million.

          • teatime says:

            If they had thrown out every vote from the entire state of Arkansas, Kris Allen still would have won. Richard Rushfield talks about this in his book about Idol.

          • Greg says:

            It is a lie that if they threw out every Arkansas vote Kris would have still won. Rushfield lied in his book and did not name sources for information. Rushfield even tried to claim that text votes were not a big factor in the voting that year. AT&T did not agree with him: “AT&T Announces the Eighth Season of ‘American Idol’ Smashes All-Time Record for Fan Engagement through Text Messaging Dallas, Texas, May 22, 2009” American Idol has done a lot to downplay the truth that it only takes a few thousand power texters to change the outcome of any season. Kerry Kolsch called Rushfield out on his lies here:

  20. Anita says:

    Awww, leave Randy alone, Dawgs.

  21. freethinker says:

    Why bring Randy back? Adam would have been new and exciting and so much better at judging. The conservative christian viewers will love Keith and hate Nicki. I won’t be watching this year because I don’t want to watch Randy and Mariah at the same table.

  22. Ruby says:

    I don’t want one damn thing from any of these people. Which is why I won’t be watching Idol anymore…or at least until they get new judges. But I have a feeling this will be the end of it anyway. The general public has very little tolerance for someone as obnoxious as Minaj, and little patience for someone as full of themselves as Mariah Carey.
    They should have cast Adam Lambert.

  23. teatime says:

    Excellent advise. I agree with all of your points. My biggest concern is the 4 judge panel. They tried that before and it took much too much time to get thru all the judges’ comments. One thing Idol has over other shows is how much time they spend on the contestants. By the end of an idol season many of the top contestants will have had more than a dozen solo performances, plus group and duet performances, plus interview time. More time spent on the judges means less time for the contestants.

    • Emma says:

      I’m really disappointed they went with 4 judges, too. But I guess they wanted to be the same as their competition, Xfactor and the Voice have 4 judges so AI followed suite. Lame. 3 judges was already too much yapping, not enough singing, 4 is unbearable.

    • nodak says:

      I don’t know what I dislike more- having to listen to 4 judges opinions, having to listen to Randy Jackson yammer on for another season, or watching Nicki Minaj in any capacity. I might have to give up AI for good.

  24. WitchyWoman says:

    Well at least I don’t have to worry about watching AI this season. That’s a lot of time returned to me to watch/do something else! Win! \o/

  25. I am watching the show this year only because of Keith. He is an amazing singer, songwriter and performer. He did an excellent job on the Voice Australia last year. Read the reviews.

    • penny says:

      I won’t be watching the show live this year but I will dvr it so I can watch the contestants and fast forward through all the judges but Keith. He is very articulate. He knows how to give constructive critiques without being mean and nasty. He knows shows like this from boths sides as he entered many talent contests when he was younger. I think people that don’t know much about him will be very pleasantly surprised.

  26. Mara says:

    Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, Mariah & Randy???!
    Dear god, what a nightmare. No one on that panel will be able to form a coherent sentence. If that’s the best they can do, Idol must really be scraping the barrel.

    Adam Lambert would have been a smart choice.

    • Alyssa says:

      Uhh…what? I don’t really care about the others, but Keith is amazing. He’s a ridiculously talented musician, performer and writer. He’s the only reason I’ll even check out AI. I stopped watching after season 1 and only watched the finale when Kris Allen won because Keith was on it.

  27. Bob says:

    I will watch this season because I have an irresistable compulsion to watch train wrecks. Randy looks like the good judge this year. We must have entered bizarro world.

  28. Emma says:

    “fan-favorite Randy”?!?!? Are they high?!?!?!

  29. Tonya says:

    All I want from this judging panel is for Randy to never open his mouth.

  30. annehedonia says:

    Idol judging panel: Dumb & dumber + divas. I leave it to you to figure out who’s who. (Maybe not fair to Keith Urban – I know next to nothing about him.) Otherwise, no one I care to watch. I won’t waste my time with Idol no mo’…

  31. irish1139 says:

    I think American Idol needs to fire the guys that turned down Adam Lambert as a judge.

    • sophistiKatie says:

      I agree! Adam Lambert – or any another Idol alumni for that matter) would have been great, It would have given Idol a unique hook none of the other shows i.e. XF or Voice has: perspective from having been there, done that contestant POV. Adam was fantastic as a mentor a few seasons ago. Idol PTB really mucked this one up. I’ve watched since Season 2, not any more. Idol is a sinking ship… time to bail. No trashy Nicki Minaj on my TV. Keith Urban was their only decent choice.

  32. Scott says:

    Smart move? Making anyone the new judge but Randy!

  33. I LUV AI says:


  34. Sherry says:

    “Very few people are born with enough talent to make a living as professional vocalists. So is there really a greater act of kindness from a judge than (sensitively) cutting short a mediocre singer’s deluded hopes of being the next Sinatra or Knowles?”

    Why would any contestant believe that a mediocre singer cant make it when Nicki Manaj is sitting on the judges panel? And honestly using mediocre to describe NM is being VERY kind. It might be interesting to see the cat fights between Nicki and Mariah but I have a feeling that it will go bad very quickly. Maybe that’s why they kept Randy out there. To help break it up incase a fight breaks out. LOL

    • RodMod says:

      Nicki didn’t make it because of singing. She was discovered and signed due to her rapping.

      The singing would come later, but it would not be the determining factor in Nicki’s success.

      A viral video of a rap would bring Nicki to the attention of die-hard hip hop fans.

      Not singing, not humming, only rapping.

      • Greg says:

        Rapping is not singing. Hip hop culture is not what American Idol is all about. The 20 million viewers that they had last year do not want a vulgar, disgusting rapper on the show. If they wanted a new audience they should have had a new show. Idol gave an FU to its old fans with that no talent Minaj.

        • RodMod says:

          One Word: Biased

          Three Syllables: Misinformed


          Nicki does “sing”, albeit with the help of autotune. However, she does sing. She sings AND raps. She raps AND sings.

          She does both.

          Both sing and raps does Nicki.

          Nicki Minaj sings and raps.

  35. ladyhelix says:

    You have done a great job on the notes Michael – thank you!! My thoughts?
    (1) “FAN FAVORITE” Randy Jackson? – how insulting
    (2) Until they go back to making people sing out of their “genre” again – the breakthrough moments will be few and far between. There is no way would Adam have sang country – or David sang Mariah or Dolly – in the new format. A.I. made the change – now they get what they’ve asked for – boring.
    (3) Luckily – I love reading your recaps even when I haven’t had a chance to watch the show- so I’ll be here (quietly), even if I can’t take it. (NM – really? really?)

  36. Dianne says:

    The Titanic has left the dock!

  37. Shannon says:

    I have only two words: I’m done.

  38. Toms1€ says:

    Seriously? Worst judges EVER

  39. Paddi Keith says:

    I’ve never really watched American Idol before but will definitely be watching this season. Keith Urban is a wonderful addition to the show. For those that don’t know him, you will be pleasantly surprised He is a wonderful musician, singer, song writer and guitar player. He will be an excellent mentor to all the contestants. Mark my words, if you aren’t a fan now, you will be by the end of the season!

    • Greg says:

      You have lost your mind. Real Idol fans will be done with the show and the hip hop community will not be interested in a 12 year old sinking ship.

      • Mary says:

        Your wrong REAL IDOL FANS will stick it out because they believe the show is about the contestants not the judges. Many of us already mute the judges when they come on when we realize they were not giving good critiques.

  40. Kristen says:

    This panel would have perfect if Nicki Minaj wasn’t on it. I was so excited with the casting of Mariah, an actual living vocal legend. She’s the most successful and most talented judge they’ve ever had. Keith Urban is a great choice too, he’s one of the most successful country artists around today and he also has crossover appeal. But what on earth does Nicki Minaj bring to the table? She can’t sing and has an awful, offensive personality. Her speciality – hip hop – is not even a part of this competition. I literally cannot figure out what the hell their reasoning was in hiring her. I’m going to give the show a chance, but I have a pretty good feeling Nicki Minaj is going to ruin it.

  41. Johnny says:

    For all the people who claim they “aren’t watching,” its okay, for every person who isn’t watching, there is somebody who will be watching because of Mariah/Keith/Nicki. Maybe those new viewers can shake up the voting demographic.

  42. Jo says:

    I simply can’t wait to see three new judges lavish unjust praise on a pre-selected white guy with guitar winner all season long!

    • MB says:

      Do you really believe Nicki’s favorite is going to be a WGWG. Really? Besides I am so sick of that phrase. The right person won Idol season 11, it was proven by record sales and I am not just talking about his single, I am talking about the EP that all of the top 5 had out and not one of the other finalist even came close to his sales yet you guys are still bitching like he did not deserve to win. Give it a break already. Phillip can become the singing sensation of the world and it is still not enough for some of you. It is not the judges that made Phillip win, it was America and not pre teens either like some of you would like to say. The reason they are bringing Nicki in is because Idol lost that demographic. I think the average viewer was something like 40 years old. I do not like Nicki Minaj’s music at all as a matter of fact I hate it but my granddaughter who is 14 absolutely loves her. My granddaughter nor any of her friends watched idol last year but I can guarantee now that Nicki is a judge she will be watching season 12. Don’t be surprised if it is not a hip hop singer who wins season 12 because that is the audience Idol is going after. They could care less about old farts like me.

      • Greg says:

        The problem for Idol is that Minaj is so nasty that the American Idol fans will hate her. If you think that Minaj will lure in enough fans to make up for the lost fans you are mistaken. Most parents will not let their children watch trash like Minaj. She is disgusting.

  43. Jggdlilpil says:

    Absolutely zero interest in the next season.. And I have done regular recaps every year since the beginning.

  44. melody says:

    I’m no longer a fan of reality talent shows,there are too many,and the judges over shadow the contestants.I will be a life long fan Of Adam Lambert,so I’m happy I discovered his incredible voice on American Idol. I am also thankful for Kelly Clarkson who is so talented.
    I will probably watch the show only if Adam and or Kelly appear,other than that .. I’m gone.

  45. ellen says:

    AI missed a major marketing opportunity by not picking one of its own alumni instead of Randy. The main thing that AI has over The Voice and X Factor is that several of its finalists have gone on to do well in the industry. I thought AI would have had the sense to choose Adam Lambert or another alum so as to point out each week that their finalists have achieved status in the industry and that’s why AI is the superior show. It would also point out that AI takes care of its own. What a missed marketing opportunity for AI.

    Randy adds nothing to the panel. I don’t believe that Randy Jackson is a fan favorite. This is a delusional comment. And with his ties to Mariah, this panel feels incestuous.

  46. Josh says:

    Given the negative response to Minaj, you have to wonder why Idol hired her? The ratings are dropping, so why would you anger the fans you already have?

  47. Jean says:

    Why in the heck is boring one-note randy still on the panel? Now he and the singer he manages are both on. Unethical to say the least. I got excited when I read that Adam Lambert was being considered. Now I won’t be watching. Guess it’ll be another WGWG who fades into oblivion by the next year – Phillips will too. What a crock Idol has become. I am totally disappointed.

  48. angelasl813 says:

    I can’t wait for Idoloonies to watch Slezak & Melinda Doolittle try to figure out which one of Nicki Minaj’s alter egos is judging the contestants.

    • nodak says:

      I agree- I might not watch the show, but this year’s Idoloonies should be memorable. If the producers did nothing else, at least they provided Slezak and Doolittle with more material!

  49. Stormy says:

    What I want from Minaj is an abrupt and permanent exit.

  50. susela says:

    What do we want from them? For Nicki Minaj to disappear. Immediately.