“I’m really impressed by the diversity of this panel — when you look at the talent level, how many records we’ve all collectively sold, you look at Jimmy Iovine, you look at Ryan Seacrest, at these power players. … If we can’t help them be successful, then no one can,” says Randy Jackson (left, with Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban).
Idol “is a big investment for this company, and everybody cares about it,” says Mike Darnell, Fox’s president of alternative programming, of the involvement of Fox chair Peter Rice (Left) and entertainment president Kevin Reilly (with Jennifer Lopez). “They want to know what’s going on.”
American Idol has seen ratings decline by as much as 25 percent in the past two years, even with such high-profile talent as Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler occupying the judges’ chairs (at the hefty reported price of $15 million and $10 million, respectively).
“I could think of at least one other person that shows more cleavage and skin than me," said Nicki Minaj, rolling her inchlong false lashes in the direction of the dressing room two doors down: Mariah Carey’s. The two judges have famously feuded with each other on the set of American Idol.
A cell phone video captured Keith Urban trapped between Nicki Minaj (left) and Mariah Carey as they traded barbs. The video, beamed around the world by TMZ and countless online outlets, showed the two judges getting into a heated exchange, during which Minaj seemingly calls Carey “your royal f—ing highness” while Carey complains of being subjected to the tantrum of “a 3-year-old. “Sometimes things get heated for their own reasons,” Carey now says of the exchange, adding, “I don’t think the panel has an issue.”
Too Many Talent Shows?
“It’s overkill,” says Simon Cowell (shown here in 2003) of a TV grid crowded with talent shows. “It’s like having 14 sugars in your coffee when you want two.”