After a lot of speculation and plenty of rumors, American Idol finally has its judges situation settled. The official word is in and not only is Randy Jackson confirmed to be returning to his role as judge on the Fox singing competition series, but he'll be joined by a country singer, a rapper and fashion icon, and the previously confirmed Mariah Carey.

With the departure of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, we were left to wonder who would be brought in to replace them at the judges table for American Idol's twelfth season, which is set to debut January 2013. According to Fox's announcement, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are the two new judges joining the series. They join previously signed-on Mariah Carey and music producer Randy Jackson at the judges table.

Late last month, it was rumored that Randy Jackson might also be leaving the judges table, but would stay on in a mentor capacity. But as of last week, he was reportedly in talks to come back as a judge and that's been confirmed today. So we'll have one familiar face returning to the series, as Jackson is the only remaining judge who's been with the show since the first season.

Bringing in a popular female rapper and a country star to join Jackson and Carey seems likely to draw plenty of attention to the series when it returns next year. I'm especially interested to see how Urban fits into the mix, particularly because Idol's always been a bit underrepresented in the country music department, despite the fact that there are usually at least one or two country singers in the finals each season. And Minaj is as well known for her unique style as she is for her music, so she may have some interesting things to say on the contestants style and dress as well as their talent.

According to Fox's announcement, host Ryan Seacrest will be joined by the new judges panel when the auditions begin in New York City.

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