Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 17, 2012

Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban named new 'Idol' judges

(Continued)

"Idol" is looking for its famous new faces to supercharge a show that remains a ratings leader but has seen its viewership and pop-culture clout erode in recent seasons in an increasingly crowded talent show field. Besides Fox sibling "The X Factor," which recently added Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as judges, there's NBC's "The Voice," which boasts Christina Aguilera among its big names.

Minaj, 29, is known for her colorful hairstyles, wardrobe and antics. A native of Trinidad who grew up in New York, she has scored with hits like "Starships," ''Turn Me On," and "Super Bass," her seventh single, which has sold more than 4 million copies.

She is the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She released her second studio album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," in April, and since then it has sold 1 million copies worldwide.

The 44-year-old Urban has four Grammy Awards and 14 No. 1 hits, and was named Male Vocal Artist of the Year three times, as well as Entertainer of the Year, by the Country Music Association. His latest CD, "Get Closer," has produced three consecutive No. 1 singles.

The New Zealand native is married to Australia-born film star Nicole Kidman.

"American Idol" ended the 2011-12 season as the leading entertainment show and No. 2 overall, just behind NBC's top-rated "Sunday Night Football."

But the show aired its least-watched finale ever and the advertiser-favored young adult audience has been steadily shrinking. The show's cachet hasn't been helped by a run of champions who have failed to achieve the career sizzle of past competitors Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson.

___

Associated Press writer Nicole Evatt and AP Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu in New York contributed to this report.

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