Following weeks of speculation, Fox has made it official: Pop star Nicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban will join Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson as "American Idol" judges.
The move comes as "Idol" gets ready to start auditions in New York on Sunday for Season 12, which will premiere in January on Fox. The field is crowded: Earlier this week, singing-show rivals "The X Factor" and "The Voice" opened to relatively soft ratings, with the former losing nearly one-third of its audience compared with last year.
"I am thrilled about this year's judges' panel," Mike Darnell, president of Fox's alternative entertainment division, said in a statement. "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."
Negotiations went down to the wire, with Fox unsure as of late Saturday whether both singers' deals would be signed in enough time for the performers to sit for the first round of auditions Sunday.