The new cast of judges—Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Randy Jackson & Minaj—gathered this weekend in NYC, where filming began at Lincoln Center for Idol's 12th season, which launches in January 2013. Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez left the show last year, after two seasons where the audience bottomed out to its lowest levels since the show debuted
I've said this before: AI's previous five "winners" have all been non-pop male singers, quite likely based on an audience base of Southern voters. Four words, cool cats: Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson. Simply, female talent is best suited to hold attention post-competition, not to mention the worthy distraction of fresher alternatives, like The Voice. (Sorry, X-Factor sucks.)
Earlier speculation about the show's new judges included Enrique Iglesias and former Idol finalist Adam Lambert. Can you imagine? A sexy singer and an audacious gay? Now that might have fostered some worthwhile TV.
But back to the point: Nicki Minaj not only is the least talented popular artist currently on radio, but a one-dimensional cartoon character. I'd truly be pleased to be dead wrong: Perhaps Minaj will offer the breath of honest judgment the show has been lacking for years (Ellen, poor Ellen)... but it's hard to imagine, given previous interviews and public appearances I've witnessed, where Minaj's T&A appear twice as large as her brain.
Carey will pocket $18 million for her first season on American Idol, according to Hollywood Reporter. Minaj's contract is worth $12 million, while Urban receives a paltry $6 million (astonishing, given the show's country bent). And host Ryan Seabreast has committed to two more seasons for $15 million each. Jackson's $$ is anyone's guess. Fox obviously believes its investment will be repaid in endorsement deals, concerts and associated product—if not ratings. But honestly, Idol, there comes a day when... "It's time to say goodbye." ♪ *