Overheard: Has 'Idol' jumped the shark with new judges?
September 17th, 2012
03:28 PM ET

Overheard: Has 'Idol' jumped the shark with new judges?

This isn't the first time "American Idol" has thrown us for a loop with a judges' announcement, but the latest panel is being received by some fans as a dealbreaker.

After plenty of speculation, Fox revealed that the new lineup for the 12th season will include, in addition to previously announced judge Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.

We believe former judge Jennifer Lopez said it best when she told Katie Couric Friday: "That's an eclectic group."

To NPR, this is "Idol's" attempt to bridge the gap between the image the show likes to project - namely, youthful - and the audience it actually has with "a median viewer age of about 50."

Hiring Minaj, a 20-something artist whose existence in mainstream pop culture stretches back just a handful of years, is an attempt to draw younger viewers as well as a potential opportunity to mix in some hip-hop and rap, something that "Idol's" not known for.

Keith Urban, meanwhile, brings the country credibility that "Idol" probably should've established long ago, considering how well it's done in creating stars in that genre, with Carrie Underwood being the shining example. He also seems to appeal to the current audience. On both Entertainment Weekly and Celebuzz polls of which judge will perform the best next season, Urban's beating them all, including mainstay Randy Jackson.

Those Urban fans were few and far between in CNN.com's peanut gallery, though, as commenters predicted this'll be the end of "Idol," with Minaj bearing the brunt of the blame:


"RIP America Idol... I already erased the settings on my DVR to not record. Sorry Keith this won't last long for you!"


"I personally think it's time for American Idol and X-Factor and all those other talent shows to take a break for a couple of years. American Idol got old about 5 years ago and new judges don't seem to make it any better or worse."


"While I can't stand Urban's music, I have more respect for him than the other three rolled into one. If you are striving for credibility, Minaj is the worst choice possible, no matter HOW MANY cruddy songs she has on Billboard's list."

Ian Monam

"Two more reasons for me to not watch this show."


"Yeah....not watching anymore. Good luck Idol. The new line-up stinks!"


"Geez, I haven't watched Idol since Sanjaya was on. Now it looks [like] the bookends of the music industry – one [end] trying to start a hopeless career, the other end trying to restart a hopeless career."


"Hear that splash? That was American Idol finally jumping the shark with Nicki Minaj manning the jet ski. We've watched the show, but her entry guarantees we're finished. Hope the PR was worth the decision American Idol!"


"This makes me SO happy. This decision has just freed up several hours of my life that I won't be watching A.I."

But Spin magazine argues that Minaj's critics just haven't been paying attention. "Minaj is perfect for the show," the magazine posits. "Her enthusiasm and affability certainly puts her in a different category than [previous judges] Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler ... The decision to pick up Nicki Minaj for 'Idol' seems birthed out of that 'Voice' strategy [on NBC] to skip desperate, attention-starved megastars of the past and go right to the successful musicians of right now, whose opinions and presence carry some real weight."

The Los Angeles Times agrees, calling the new "Idol" panel one that's "not just there for career resuscitation," and the judges, at least, will "likely be worth watching."

For the first episode, at least. "American Idol" returns to Fox in January.

Filed under: American Idol 2012 • television

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. agree 100%

    its worse...

    January 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. is pat sajak here?

    you know how get when i think of that man.

    December 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nikki is a clown

    especially when she wears that stupid banana clip in her hair and those glasses...lord

    December 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    I won't watch "American Idol" as long as Minaj the clown is a judge. What a stupid move. I predict this will be the end for Idol. It was fun while it lasted..........

    December 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nancy

    Idol used to be about finding the next "idol" which it apparently hasn't done so in years. The focus from the actual contestants has drastically shifted to the focus on the judges. So now it's turned into a reality drama about the judges.

    October 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BloughMee

    IF she lasts the season, which I don't believe she will – this will be the final straw for Idol. Ghetto big-mouthed no-talent prima donna. Come back in five years and "Nicki Minaj" (or however she's spelling it) will be just another Milli-Vanilli bad pop memory. Shame on Idol producers for putting this trash on their show. If you want to connect with the younger crowd, why not Selena Gomez? Or Beiber ? Or even someone like Zach Hanson ? ACTUAL talent who have ACTUALLY done something in the business – that should be the litmus test, and NOT how outrageous, rude, and anti-social they can be. IDIOTS. Truth is – the show is way past its prime anyway, they're beating a dead horse at this point IMO. 10+ years is a long run for ANY TV show or for that matter any TV genre. Producers will live to regret squeezing every last penny out of the concept.

    October 3, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. five finger tight grip

    movie at some point?

    September 21, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dawn

    I don't care for Nikki or her music but I think she is current and a good choice.

    I definitely don't like Mariah, never have! Mariah is a lot of "diva" to take on. I'm sure everything is about her

    Keith is just a nice guy and I think he'll do great.

    They needed some new blood so hopefully it helps.

    September 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Allistar

    this horrible show jumped the shark the day it went on the air! Who watches this total garbage!?

    September 20, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. jimdandy

    They jumped the shark with the LAST judge selection (and a 12th season)...

    September 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bookworm12

    Never was a fan of these "reality singing shows", it's not about the singers, just an ego driven house of cards. Idol jumped the shark years ago and it doesn't realize it. It's a Zombie on life support. R.I.P.

    September 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. C Cove

    Are you kidding... My eyes are on Keith! Go Keith......

    September 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. i like her...

    everyone LIKES her and they ALWAYS will..thats why she has HUGE fan base...she's not obsessed with bloggers thats for sure and i wish her well, but that hair! ugh

    September 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • BloughMee

      Uh, I don't like her, and I don't know anyone who does. Her only talent is being outrageous – performers like that are always just a flash in the pan. Producers will have to decide whether the show, or ms. "Minaj" is more important. I'm guessing she'll be toast before the live auditions are over.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. The Prophet

    Some commercial promised The Voice was the best singing show on TV. Wow. That's like saying this is the nicest dog turd in the backyard. It's still a dog turd. And Idol isn't even the best turd. Jumped the shark? Long ago... What a joke.

    September 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • LD

      Nikki Minaj is NOT a good choice. I have read tons of facebook comments and she is NOT liked. Appealing to a younger crowd would be someone like one of the Jonas' brothers, Justin Bieber, but not someone so far out there . . . I think AI will be done after this year . . .

      September 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • sassysticks53

      Minaj is very successful so someone likes her.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      you hit the turd right on the head.... question is.... which turd stinks the most? Can't be Randy b/c fossils don't stink. (or do they?) I KINDA like Keith, however once his business started getting plastered all over the world with his addictions and once Nicole came into the picture, it was definately a catalyst for me to stop purchasing his music. Nicole was married to Tom, anyone ever involved with that yayhoo has a scarlet letter on them, and anyone who was too weak to fight for their children and get them away from that yayhoo is and was a POS from the very start.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      Mariah's a WAS, tryng to make it back to an IS, what number is Nick for her? Minaj is just plain NASTY in EVERY sense of the word....

      September 20, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |


    September 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Guestly

    Stopped watching after the first season. WIN!

    September 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Sherry Goodstein

    Jay Berkowitz is a real hunk.

    September 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Michael Calaizzo

    Very Groovy Mood abou this.

    September 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Meh

    yeah....this newest batch of losers is what made the show jump the shark...

    September 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  20. kennedy keith

    u lots please get a life.we all know that these talents shows are more of publicity that getting real talent.were are the previous winners today? so NICKI MINAJ is d best for the show!!!!!

    September 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  21. quietpups.


    September 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. jeann

    Nicky Minaj choice ruined the show for me. Sorry Nigel Lythgoe bad choice on this one!!! You lost me. Nicky cheapens the show for me. Love Mariah and Randy. At least Mariah's critique is coming from a real place – SHE CAN SING!!! NOT the same for this Minaj chick. Sorry I won't watch!

    September 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Folks

    she's feeling confident for the moment.

    September 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Treblok

    Last year idol was the worst it could have ever been. To nice and the singers picked were so, so. With the Voice and X-Factor, the edge is gone. It had a good 10 year run and then so, so from there. I can't even remember who won the past two years and didn't care. It's been all Taylor Hicks vote for the worst season last year and the new judges will not save it, in my opinion. Simon, Paula, and Randi (Trio) was the correct formula. Bringing the 4th judge and no offence to Ellen, but she was horrible on that show. She's great, but I'd say AI was a low for her and I'm sure she hopes she forgets it. Steve Tyler gave the impression he was going to be a good judge (Like Howard Stern was/is on AGT) but he turned into bubble gum very quickly. Quit while there is 2 other shows that are better fighting it out. AI is a true game show now, short of getting "Rice A Ronnie" as your runner up prize.

    September 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Chris

    I think people will watch the show no matter who the judge is.....most people watching are watching for the contestants....and I believe nicki shouldn't be up there but the rest deserve it.....and I think Mariah doesn't get enough credit.....whether you like her or not....she's an icon and extremely talented.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  26. JeffD

    The newest version of American Idol judges is probably the final version. I have loved the show for years but I simply can't understand the recent addition of Carey and Minaj. Keith Urban is a fine performer and clearly knows the business, but I doubt his quiet personality will add much excitement to the show. Minaj is a biazarre creature from which I wouldn't expect anything intelligent, although she may flip-off a few contestants. Carey is talented but she doesn't have the credentials to sdave the show. After years of watching every minute, I'll pass on the 2013 version. American Idol RIP.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mermaid7

      Totally agree that Minaj is a ridiculous and desperate choice for a show that is now run by screaming, swooning teenage swaybots and twangy country singers who don't realize they are tone deaf. After flipping off the SuperBowl audience, I suspect that Nikki hoped to hide the fact that she has ZERO real talent! Talking dirty and dressing like a circus performer don't equal anything I will want to watch....Love Keith's music and respect Mariah's talent, but won't waste my time on Minaj....RIP American Idol!

      September 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • iReese

      @Mermaid it wasnt Minaj who flipped the bird on superbowl is was M.I.A...idiot!

      September 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  27. hysterical

    September 18, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  28. Mary

    Lil' Kim wasn't available?

    September 18, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  29. Me

    The quote about "Nicky Lets Have a Menage" was: "... successful musicians of right now, whose opinions and presence carry some real weight."

    HA...HA...Ha...Ha...ha...ha...carry some weight...ha...ha...ha...

    September 18, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  30. Charlie

    Nicki Minaj??

    I highly doubt the queen of auto-tune is in a position to judge talent!

    September 18, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  31. billbe

    Nicki Minaj is the worst choice ever to judge people with talent? What are they thinking.. She looks like a Baboon in makeup wearing a Walmart Halloween Costume Wig! GAWD!!

    September 18, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • John Jing

      She has 0 talent. Baboon..with Walmart Wig ,funny. i bet her big butt is red also like Baboons i see at the zoo.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  32. A.Intelligence Dish

    she can't sing and she looks ridiculous.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  33. merwan

    its okay to have your own opinion but at least try to make it a constructive one all the people bashing Nicki just come off as jealous and bitter "haters" no one is MAKING you watch. Nicki is famous because of hard work and talent and i belive she will be a great judge i have never watched A.I before but i will start because of her go get them Nicki haters will make you more famous.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Are you Serious!!

      Nicki cant sign..cant talk ....but I bet she worked that big butt for the record producers.
      Loser..fired from many jobs fro being an a*shole! Wikipedia quote: Minaj was fired from Red Lobster because of her discourteousness to customers. She stated she had been fired from "at least fifteen jobs" for similar antics

      September 18, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  34. Not me .n

    i'm not done

    September 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  35. nancy

    it was bad enuf that they hired "my-bag-you carry....but sicki man-age?

    not going to be watching this crud........sorry keith...you would have been a reason to watch – but not with two gangsta women at your side.

    i am done.n as far as i am concerned – american idol was cancelled this year

    September 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Marina

    nicole kidman is one happy woman...lol

    September 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  37. idol

    we are trained to find a hacker..we set the trap and go oops de its. doesn't mean its accurate its just a trap.
    keith and mariah are strong for vocal and will be fine.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  38. JOSH


    September 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  39. John Robertson

    Minaj does not even speak English.. She pretty much just sings about p##### etc.. Disgusting

    September 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Louie

    I remember seeing Susan Boyle and crying over her performance because she was an unknown with a beautiful voice. Now it is all about the judges and their stupid egos. They hack everybody to death. It's a shame because someone from a small town with no money and a great voice doesn't get a fair shake. Let it go.

    September 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Glad to See Keith Urban

    i do not like country music...but Keith has an incredible voice range and very powerful. i actually enjoy listening to him.

    September 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  42. gian

    you never threaten anyone because you never know you if will get it back.
    thanks for the advice

    September 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  43. gian

    you never threaten anyone because you never know you will get it back.
    thanks for the advice

    September 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  44. smart one

    Niki minaj? Can't stand her and I don't care how many awards she has. She's from the hood & always fighting w/someone & she can't speak proper English. I like Keith Urban. Mariah Cary, that's the biggest diva around! Idol is now in the sewer & it can stay there too. Will not watch at all!!!!

    September 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • iReese

      who did Minaj fight? and who speaks proper english these days especially in pop music... dumb one?

      September 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  45. rose

    I don't think it is safe to threaten celebrities.

    September 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  46. MarieO

    i'm sure...but ryan seacrest tends to snap–

    September 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Snorlax

    This show has always been stupid. Let's get rid of it already.

    September 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Fonzie

    Ayyyy! I got a good feeling about this.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  49. marie osmond

    nicki...i am going to keel you...that hair is gross–you gotta call me.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |

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