Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban Join ‘Idol’ Judges’ Table: Let The Drama Begin!

(PCM) It’s official! Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban will be joining Mariah Carey and veteran Randy Jackson (of course) at the American Idol judges’ table this season, Fox announced.

“It’s really an honor to have been invited to be a part of the American Idol family,” Urban, 44, says. “I’m looking forward to working with everyone and to seeing the same passion that I have for music in all of the participants.”

But despite announcing the official panel just days ago, there are already rumors circulating that there’s drama stirring on set…between the two ladies, of course. Carey denied the claim at a recent press conference in NYC, where the first round of auditions was underway. “It’s been two days!” she said. “A feud takes a little longer than two days!” Minaj responded,  [We’re] getting along wonderfully, darling.”

Drama or no drama, this upcoming season has the potential to be one of the show’s best yet, according to veteran host Ryan Seacrest.

“It’s always exciting to start a new season, but I’m especially excited [this year],” he told E!. “I think we ended up with a powerful, diverse, colorful, knowledgeable group of judges. Now that we’ve got four, it’s going to make the circus even more fun.”

Mark your calendars! Season 12 premieres this January on Fox !

Michael Becker / FOX

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Mariah Carey Joins American Idol with Record-Breaking Contract

Mariah Carey has officially become the highest paid judge in reality television.

Forget about retired “Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez’s measly $12 million paycheck; Carey’s new “American Idol” deal is worth nearly $18 million, according to TMZ – and that’s just for one year!  That makes her the new highest paid reality judge, blowing away “X Factor’s” Britney Spears by a cool $3 million.

Mariah tweeted about joining the show, saying, “It’s gonna be so much fun working on American Idol. As a singer-songwriter, I’m excited to help find and nurture new talent. LYM! – MC”

I guess “Idol” can afford it, now that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are out, but is she worth it?

photo courtesy MTV

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American Idol Judging Trio Will All Return for New Season

After a stellar Season 10, Idol fans can rejoice in news that the three beloved judges of last season will once again be reunited for Season 11. While Jennifer Lopez had been “on the fence” in announcing whether she would return, yesterday morning American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told the audience of “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” that J.Lo will, in fact, be returning alongside her fellow judges Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler.

Seacrest prompted the announcement when he asked Lythgoe, “Do you want to do the Jennifer announcement here or are we still waiting?”

Lythgoe replied, “I believe we’re still waiting for the official announcements but I am delighted to say that all three judges, along with the brilliant host of American Idol, is back for the next season.”

Idol veteran Randy Jackson and the ever-amusing Steven Tyler already have deals for another season (and of course Ryan would be back!), so the only thing that had been holding back the announcement was J.Lo’s deal.

Even Lythgoe acknowledges it isn’t “official” just yet… not until Fox says so, but it’s certainly the most promising news yet for those fans of J.Lo and the current roster of judges. It’s also being reported that her last season paycheck of $12 million has increased by 60% to provide her with a $20 million paycheck for this upcoming season.

We can’t imagine why J.Lo wouldn’t return considering the show provided an all-out revitalization of her career. On the show, she was able to promote her new album, single, and also land several movie deals… not to mention the “most beautiful woman” title she snagged from People this year.

We hope Steven Tyler takes this into consideration as well because we have never loved him more! So we’re crossing our fingers a year early that he doesn’t leave the show for Season 12.

Season 11 kicks off in January 2012, but the team is hitting the road soon to hear auditions in cities including Denver, Houston, St. Louis, Portland, San Diego, Pittsburgh and Charleston.

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Pia Toscano Eliminated on Idol

Finalist Pia Toscano was eliminated tonight on American Idol after she received the fewest of America’s votes. On Wednesday’s performance show, the Top 9 performed the songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Toscano, 22, from Howard Beach, NY, sang “River Deep, Mountain High.” Tonight’s episode featured performances by punk legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Iggy Pop and Season Four  Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis.

On Wednesday, April 13  the Top 8 finalists – Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina, James Durbin, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk, Scotty McCreery, Paul McDonald and Haley Reinhart – return to the IDOL stage to perform songs from the movies.

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American Idol Results Show Full of Surprises

This Thursday’s American Idol results show was one of the most shocking shows yet.

The night began with a surprise appearance by Stevie Wonder who showed up to wish his friend Steven Tyler a happy birthday. Then finalists James Durban and Paul McDonald confessed their love of pro wrestling. Ryan Seacrest called them both center stage to tell them their fate and said neither of them were safe. After the audience shocked response he repeated himself and then Hulk Hogan appeared to let the awestruck contestants know they were in fact safe from elimination.

As the show continued the bottom three were revealed which included Thia Megia, Stefano Langone, and Casey Abrams. As if the names of the bottom three weren’t shocking enough, things got even more exciting as the one in danger of elimination was revealed. Casey had the lowest number of votes and began to perform in hopes of earning the judges save and remaining another week in the competition.

He started singing and then Ryan ran on the the stage waving his arms for Casey to stop. Casey abruptly stopped his song looking very confused. Then the focus turned to the judges who said they knew who Casey was and didn’t need to hear him sing because they had already decided to save him.

Casey looked like he was going to pass out due to shock. The decision to use the one save of the season this early in the competition was unexpected, but things got even more surprising. Ryan then announced that this year for the first time ever the American Idol tour would include the top 11.  So the tour group will include Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, Jacob Lusk, James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Naima Adedapo, Paul McDonald, Pia Toscano, Scotty McCreery, Stefano Langone and Thia Megia.

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