In an attempt to appeal to every possible music listener — save for the rock’n’roll fan — American Idol has finalized its judging panel for its 12th season. Despite reports of his ouster, Randy Jackson will be returning to the show, along with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and country star Keith Urban.
Idol hasn’t had four judges since its ill-fated ninth season, when Paula Abdul exited and Ellen DeGeneres sat on the panel alongside Simon Cowell, Jackson, and pop songwriter Kara DioGuardi. The subsequent season, Idol underwent a major overhaul, bringing on Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, a lineup that lasted two seasons. Successful competitor The Voice has always had four judges/mentors from various genres (Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine), and the U.S. version of The X Factor also has a panel of four (this year’s lineup is Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears, and Demi Lovato).
As SPIN noted when Carey’s hire was first confirmed, now all three reality-singing competitions include massive pop stars; they also all feature a black man wearing glasses. Idol, which discovered arguably the most successful young country star of the past decade, Carrie Underwood, has never had a rep from the genre on its panel before.
Read the full (gushing) press release from Team Idol here.