When the multi-platinum recording artist was debating about taking a spot on Idol's judges panel, it was husband Nick Cannon (host of NBC's America's Got Talent) who persuaded Mariah Carey to accept. "He really wanted me to do this and I had my own kind of reservations -- I didn't know how I would adapt to this situation," Carey told THR while they whittled away contenders during Hollywood Week. “I see myself in some of the contestants when I first started.”
Randy Jackson has been a judge since the show's debut in 2002 with Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Before signing on to season 12, rumors swirled started that Jackson would return only in a mentor capacity. So much for that.
Along with judge Randy Jackson, host Ryan Seacrest has been with American Idol since the beginning. Dubbed "the glue" that keeps Idol together, Seacrest inked a deal with Fox in April to remain host for another two years.
Nicki, Mariah, Keith and Randy
Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson toured the country looking for the best of the best (and not without some drama). This year, Idol took auditions in New York City, Charlotte, Chicago, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Los Angeles.
New Orleans Audtions
Host Ryan Seacrest saluted the crowd packed outside of the New Orleans Arena waiting to audition.
While they waited, two season-12 hopefuls tested out their singing chops with season 10's Casey Abrams in Los Angeles.
Host Ryan Seacrest stood in the crowd offering supporting applause. In an interview with THR, the host praised the season's "caliber of talent brought back as a whole in a lot of them guys and girls."
Everyone attempted to stand out as much as possible in the crowd. This particular hopeful called up New Orleans' Mardi Gras history with a brightly colored dress and festive mask.
Hopefuls hold up homemade signs attempting to get noticed. Their odds = not good.
One hopeful showed off his guitar skills. The last five winners of Idol - David Cook (season seven), Kris Allen (season eight), Lee DeWyze (season nine), Scotty McCreery (season 10) and Phillip Phillips (season 11) - are known for their six-string based sound. Some call this pattern "the white guy with guitar" curse.
He's tackled Enron, Eliot Spitzer and Lance Armstrong. Now, the Oscar winner is taking aim at the controversial church (and its lawyers) as he reveals that a private investigator has been asking questions about him: "This Scientology thing — that just takes a huge set to take them on," says Armstrong. "But he has the courage to do it." Read More