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In unsurprising news, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are both exiting American Idol after one season as judges on the series. The duo follow veteran Idol judge Randy Jackson out the door, leaving Keith Urban as the lone remaining judge yet to confirm his return or departure. Given the rumors about the singing competition looking to start fresh with new judges, there's a good chance it's just a matter of time before we hear word that Urban is out.
News of Minaj and Carey's exits from the series came separately today. Carey was the first to announce that she wasn't coming back. TMZ says word came through her PR people that she would not be back on the show next season. Minaj went a slightly less formal route, announcing her departure via Twitter:
As THR points out, that just leaves Keith Urban to announce his plans, as Randy Jackson's departure from the series was confirmed before Season 12 wrapped up, closing out with its lowest-rated season finale ever. Whether or not a new set of judges will do anything to salvage the series' diminishing ratings remains to be seen. Something more drastic - like a format shift - might be in order to get viewers to tune in again.
We've been hearing rumors of judge replacements since before Season 12 ending, with talk of Jennifer Lopez possibly being brought in to replace Carey. More recent reports said that they might bring in former contestants to judge, with Jennifer Hudson reportedly in talks to take one of the seats. Whether or not that comes to pass, we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, there are now officially three empty chairs at the judges table.