*Nicki Minaj is reportedly closing in on an $8 million deal to join “American Idol” as a judge for season 12, a source close to the Fox show tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Australian country star Keith Urban is also nearing his own multi-million dollar deal to join the panel .
Accoring to THR, Minaj and Urban have been in talks for weeks with show producers Fox, FremantleMedia and CORE Media Group’s 19 Entertainment. The holdup for Minaj was said to be her Pepsi sponsorship, which was irking “Idol” partner Coke, reports THR. Those issues apparently have been worked out, and Minaj will receive about $8 million to join the show with additional allowances for wardrobe, hair and makeup.
Minaj could sign on the dotted line as soon as today or early next week, adds the source.
Urban, who told an Australian radio station that he was in talks to join ‘Idol,’ has agreed to take a third seat for a salary of $3 million to $4 million, according to the source. Former country contender Brad Paisley apparently dropped out of the conversation because he wanted to match Minaj’s pay scale, which was a nonstarter with ‘Idol’ brass. As also previously reported by THR, the show is looking to cut costs where it can, from production to talent.
Even with Mariah Carey’s reported $18 million payday, the show is keeping in line with previous salary costs. Simon Cowell was paid a whopping $35 million a year when he left the show in season 9.
Urban, who is married to actress and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman, is one of country music’s biggest stars, both in the U.S. and around the world. Although throat problems have sidelined touring for the past couple of years, Urban has stayed busy working on new music for a future album and judging another singing competition show: Australia’s “The Voice.”
“I’m trying to make an album, and it’s strange how these opportunities all come in one big fell swoop,” he said earlier this week.
No announcement has been made regarding Randy Jackson. According to THR, he might stay on as a fourth judge, or he might not, say sources. “Idol” producers are still talking with prospective judges for that fourth slot, and if they can find the right fit for the right price, Jackson could be shifted off the judges’ panel for the first time in the show’s history.
But as Carey’s co-manager and an “Idol” loyalist from the start, Jackson still is likely to have a major role on the show, even if it’s not as an official judge.