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Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj Join Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson on Idol’s Judging Panel

On Sunday, September 16, the revamped American Idol judging panel made its official debut in New York. Country artist Keith Urban and pop/hip hop artist Nicki Minaj joined previously confirmed judges pop diva Mariah Carey and music producer Randy Jackson to begin the process of sending season 12′s Idol hopefuls to Hollywood.

AMERICAN IDOL: SEASON 12: L-R: Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson on the set of AMERICAN IDOL Sunday, Sept, 16. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

Well, I must say that the new panel is definitely an eclectic bunch. I think, well, more so, I hope that they each serve their new roles roles well.

Mariah Carey knows what great singing is supposed to sound like. She’s Mariah Carey. In the same token, I don’t think we’re ever going to hear her tell the contestants that they’ve had the best vocal performance she’s ever heard, because again, she’s Mariah Carey.

My hope for Mariah on the panel is that she’ll weed out the mediocre singers to make room the ones with legitimate talent.

I am all for having Keith Urban on the panel. I watched him as one of the coaches on The Voice Austrailia, and I feel like he’ll be that motivator for the contestants to do their best, but he’ll also not be afraid to share constructive feedback. I feel like he’s exactly the type of judge that Idol’s been missing during the last few seasons.

Plus, with the influx of country singers trying to make it on the show, he should be able to pinpoint which ones are the real deal and would be able to shine doing country music past their run on the show.

The addition of Nicki Minaj on paper makes it seem like she’s only there to boost ratings. However, I think it actually behooves Idol to have a legit, modern-day pop artist on their panel.

Nicki, as well as the rest of the panel, knows how much work and effort is takes to survive the music business. Plus, she has a unique look, which is just as intriguing as her music. I think she’ll be the one to spot which of the Idol hopefuls have that total package; the talent, the look, and the marketability factor.

Now, to be completely honest, I feel like Randy Jackson would excel more in the role on Idol’s in-house mentor. As a longtime producer with plenty of hits under his belt, I feel like his advice would benefit the Idol contestants more during their rehearsals.

He knows what the judges are going to be looking for, and he would be able to bring the best out of the contestants, vocally, for their performances. Plus, I think he’d be able to give them solid advice when it would come to arranging the music for their songs. I really feel like as the in-house mentor, he’d be quite the resource.

However, he’s back at the judges’ table this season, so get ready for a new catchphrase to be repeated ad nauseum and more ridiculous brooches.

So Idol fans, are you excited about the new judging panel? And how do you think Mariah, Keith, Nicki, and Randy will fare next season?

Photo credit: Michael Becker / FOX.

About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer/Blogger from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, fun.'s Andrew Dost, singer-songwriter Christina Perri, American Idol winners (David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze & Scotty McCreery) and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance. Connect with Kirsten on Twitter & Facebook.