The American Idol judges' table is looking mighty empty. Both Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey have confirmed that they will not return to the Fox show. The duo famously duked it out all season, at times refusing to speak to each other. Their announcements confirm suspicions that have been swirling since before the winner was crowned.
Minaj told her Barbs via tweet earlier today: "Thank you American Idol for a life changing experience! Wouldn't trade it for the world! Time to focus on the Music!!! Mmmuuuaahhh!!!" A source prematurely spilled the unofficial news weeks ago, saying, "It's safe to say she isn't coming back to Idol. She's OK with it. She had a great time, but was only going to do one season anyway." Minaj had faced criticism from past judges, including Steven Tyler, who felt she was too hard on the contestants.
Fox, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment confirmed her departure in a statement: "Nicki Minaj is a superstar who brought a level of honesty and passion to American Idol and who had a tremendous positive impact on so many contestants this season. Given her extremely busy career, we understand and respect her decision and wish her the best.”
Carey's announcement also came via Twitter, in a message posted by her public relations rep, PMK BNC: "W/ global success of “#Beautiful” (#1 in 30+ countries so far) @MariahCarey confirms world tour & says goodbye 2 Idol." Tour dates have not yet been posted. Early in the season, Carey told Barbara Walters that she hired extra security following threats on her life from Minaj, which the Young Money rapper refuted. Rumors persisted all season that the show wanted to replace Carey with former judge J.Lo, which was only further stirred when the Bronx-born singer performed on the finale.
The production company had this to say about Carey: "Mariah Carey is a true global icon — one of the most accomplished artists on the planet — and we feel extremely fortunate that she was able to bring her wisdom and experience to the American Idol contestants this season. We know she will remain an inspiration to Idol hopefuls for many seasons to come.”
Randy Jackson was the first to announce his departure, telling host Ryan Seacrest that after 12 seasons, "It was just time." Their exits shouldn't come as a surprise, as the show has steadily shed viewers this season, posting it's lowest numbers ever for a finale earlier this month, according to Hollywood Reporter. No word yet if the remaining judge, Keith Urban, will return.
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