Mariah & Nicki Talk 'Idol' Strategies
American Idol season 12 officially kicked off in New York City yesterday as Mariah Carey was joined by her newly announced fellow judges Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy "Teflon" Jackson for the first round of auditions in their newest Search for a Superstar!
I bellied up to the barricades with the rest of the press to find out what they plan to bring to the new season, how they feel about their new co-stars and if there are any untouchable songs given this newly assembled panel!
Keith Urban was the first to arrive, and revealed he won't be this year's tough judge given an experience he had years ago in a talent show! "I was crucified by a judge so I don't know if I'll ever be that guy, but we all want to truthfully know what we're doing right and wrong," he said about his plan to embrace honesty.
That was a running theme of the day, which Mariah took one step further by eschewing the judge label all together. "I won't be judging, I don't like the word judging," she said. "I'll be guiding."
"What I want to be is honest," Mariah added. "Someone the contestants can go to for guidance as opposed to being the mean one [or] the nice one. I'm not about that. I am what I am. I'm a producer, I've made a lot of records, I've toured all over the world -- [American Idol season 12] is not about 'Me! Me! Me!' It's about them and what I can bring to them to help guide them in the right direction."
Although when asked what she thought of her fellow judges, Mariah made it clear that it will be about her a little bit. "I really haven't been waiting [for the new judges announcement] because all I care about is me," she said before adding, "No, I'm only kidding. We love everybody. We're very excited to go inside and see [all the contestants]."
But should the wannabes dare to attempt a Carey classic? "They can sing anything that moves them," Mariah laughed. "As a songwriter, I would be honored."
Also hoping to hear some Mariah in the audition room, albeit for slightly more nefarious reasons, is host Ryan Seacrest. "I can't wait for a contestant to come in and sing a Mariah song," he said through a mile-wide grin. "I can't wait to see how that goes."
The other lady joining the Judges Table this year is Nicki Minaj, and when asked what she's looking for this season, she said "a superstar," and then broke down what that entails. "A superstar [is] something that can't be described in words. It's a thing you can feel. It's a presence."
Something all three newbies have in spades! "Keith is a fabulous crossover country artist [and] Nicki brings pizzazz, a sense of style, a sense of stardom and serious relevancy," Seacrest added. "I think the contestants will be excited about [that combination]."
Mariah's many accolades don't require listing here, but it's her gravitas Randy Jackson is most excited about. "I'm so excited she's here," he said, citing the millions of auditioners who grew up idolizing Mariah. "Now it's time for them to face the music. She brings a whole other vibe we've never had on the show. It's the fresh, fresh, fresh Idol 1-2."
You can check out the "fresh, fresh, fresh Idol 1-2" on Fox in January 2013.