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Nicki Minaj and country singer Keith Urban confirmed as ‘American Idol’ judges

Rapper and singer join Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson as part of a four-strong panel

Nicki Minaj and country singer Keith Urban have been confirmed as judges for the next season of American Idol.

The pair were confirmed as part of the show’s new-look panel by broadcasters Fox yesterday (September 16). The series will return in January for its 12th season.

Minaj and Urban, who is best known in the UK for his marriage to Nicole Kidman, will sit on the panel alongside Mariah Carey, who is also making her debut as a judge, and Randy Jackson, the sole survivor from the show’s 11th series.

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Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez both announced earlier this year that they would not be returning to the show.

It is not known what salary either Minaj or Urban will be picking up for their appearances on the show, but it is unlikely to match Mariah Carey’s, who has confirmed she will be receiving a whopping $18 million (£11.4 million) a year.

The confirmation of the judging panel ends a prolonged period of speculation, which has seen the likes of Kanye West, Brad Paisley and Enrique Iglesias linked to the role.

Producers will be hoping that the new-look panel boosts the show’s flagging ratings. Audience’s for the 2012 series were down 30% on 2011. The season finale only drew 21.5 million viewers, a record low, to see Phillip Phillips win.

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