Since its premiere in 2002, American Idol has showcased singers hoping for a shot at stardom. Viewers tune in week after week to hear the good, bad, and downright ugly performances. Throughout the seasons we have watched contestants develop successful careers and look forward to many more. At the center of the show is the panel of judges that hand out advice, encouragement, and eliminations in a way that only they can. Each brings to the table industry experience and a unique personality.
Season 12 started in January and is only the third of all the years to have four judges on the panel. Previous judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler both announced they would not be returning for another season. This left empty spots which were filled by three instead of two new judges. Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, and Nicki Minaj are all music superstars with successful careers. With very distinct and varied personalities, the show is sure to be infused with a new feel.
The judges do not come cheap though. The cost to infuse new talent into the latest season was high. Country star Keith Urban was reportedly paid 6 million and pop star Nicki Minaj allegedly made double that (12 million) for her spot. The highest paid of the new three judges is Mariah Carey who is rumored to have been paid 18 million to be a judge. Based on her amazing and long standing career it is not surprising. Out of the three she brings credibility to the show that none of the previous judges could even offer. The stars sign contracts for a season and ultimately like the American Idol contestants, the viewers will decide by ratings how entertaining they are.