“American Idol” hopefuls face new celebrity judges as the hit talent show returns to FOX. Keith Urban is a veteran talent critic, having starred on the Australian version of “The Voice”. Hopefully Keith’s American TV stint will let him make as good an impression on non-country fans as Blake Shelton (“The Voice”) and Trace Adkins (“Celebrity Apprentice”) did. Keith may grow tired of refereeing the catfights between 90’s falsetto queen Mariah Carey and nasty rapper Nicki Minaj. “Idol” regulars Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest are returning.

The new panel comes at a cost of $36 million: Mariah Carey will earn around $18 million, Nicki Minaj gets $12 million and Keith Urban takes home a comparatively minor $6 million. Hmm. Maybe they think Mariah is three times more famous than Keith? He’s certainly had more current hit songs (and he’s a songwriter and musician, too). And Nicki Minaj doesn’t really sing, does she? She mostly raps. I don’t get it.

Will you be watching the return of “American Idol” on FOX? (Wed 1/16 & Thurs 1/17 at 8PM) – Monty


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