Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj didn’t agree on much during season 12 of “American Idol,” but today they agreed that one season on the judging panel was enough as both have released statements making their departure from the show official. With Randy Jackson already gone, this leaves Keith Urban as the last remaining judge and there are rumors that he too will be leaving.
“American Idol” had reached out to Mariah Carey in hopes that adding a big name to the judging panel would pull in viewers. A similar tactic had been tried by rival show “The X-Factor” when they brought in Britney Spears for their most recent season, but the big names didn’t work out for either show as both declined in the ratings.
This season of “American Idol” saw its lowest ratings yet. While normally dominate in not just its timeslot, but in the overall ratings, “American Idol” had slipped a little in season 11, but season 12 saw it fall from its perch atop the ratings and for the first time in the history of the show it had a finale that brought in less than 20 million viewers. While 21.5 million viewers tuned in to the season 11 finale, only 14.3 million tuned in for the finale of season 12. Clearly, the Minaj and Carey experiment had failed.
Many people blame the constant bickering between Minaj and Carey for some of the ratings drops, but others say plain old strangeness from both new judges didn’t help. Minaj often spoke in a fake British accent and seemed to be hitting on the contestants. She came off a little bipolar being too nice at some points and too mean at others. Carey, much like Spears on “The X-Factor,” often simply didn’t have an opinion. She would sometimes give criticism, but was often too nice or simply too bland and didn’t offer any real point of view. There were times when she would just ramble without making any sense and Jackson had to step in and save her. Urban was the only judge this season who seemed invested in the show. They would do well to keep him around and have him anchor the new group of judges.
Minaj posted the following on her Twitter page yesterday afternoon, “Thank you “American Idol” for a life changing experience! Wouldn’t trade it for the world! Time to focus on the Music!!!” While Carey hasn’t made a statement herself her publicity team has announced via Twitter that she says goodbye to “Idol” and is beginning preparations for a world tour.
For their part, Fox said of Carey via a press release, “Mariah Carey is a true Global icon – one of the most accomplished artists on the planet – and we feel extremely fortunate that she was able to bring her wisdom and experience to the “American Idol” contestants this season.”
Fox was equally nice to Minaj saying, “Nicki Minaj is a superstar who brought a level of honesty and passion to “American Idol” and who had a tremendous positive impact on so many contestants this season. Given her extremely busy career, we understand and respect her decision and wish her the best.”
Along with these judges, Fox is also losing its head of reality programming Mike Darnell. Darnell is the executive who helped turn “American Idol” into the biggest show on television. Without him, and likely needing an entire new panel of judges, it will not be a shock to see some major changes made to “American Idol” over the next handful of months as they try to regain the dominance they once had.