‘American Idol’ judges call themselves a ‘dysfunctional family,’ producer Nigel Lythgoe comments on what fans should expect

By Daniel S Levine,

With the American Idol 12th season premiere around the corner, new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban will be taking center stage along with Randy Jackson. Carey and Minaj have grabbed plenty of headlines thanks to their feud and they admitted during a Q&A session at UCLA's Royce Hall that they are a “dysfunctional family.”

Carey, who is already a legend thanks to her career, explained why she decided to take the job, reports MTV News. “It's American Idol. This is the biggest show. It changed trends in music. It created massive superstars and people that I think are going to have timeless careers,” she explained. “I just had two babies and I thought it would be a good thing for me to have something a little more stable instead of constantly working.”

Minaj said that this is just one of the latest twists in her career that few expected. “I keeping saying it was something that wasn't expected of me to do, so I always kind of like to do the thing that [people] wouldn't believe I would do,” she said.

For Urban, the key is giving undiscovered talent a platform, which he says the “show does on steroids.”

Despite Carey’s recent interview, the judges never directly mentioned the feud, but Urban admitted, “It's this dysfunctional family you see before you, I love being a part of. I love the unpredictability of every day on the set.”

“What do you mean by that, Keith?” host Ryan Seacrest asked. Minaj then yelled, “Ryan, stop!”

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe also sat down with USA Today, explaining that the show has undergone several changes for the new season.

Lythgoe said that they tried to reach smaller communities this year, rather than the usual big cities. “We've actually taken an American Idol bus out to the little towns this year, with a producer on board. ... That introduced new talent to us, I must say.”

He added that there will also be no wild card thrown in when the show reaches the Top 10. Once those contestants are set, that’s it. “I've never liked a Top 11 or a Top 12 or a Top 13...It was always created in order to fill the transmission times Fox wanted.”

Fox is hoping the changes help the ratings, which slipped during season 11. The new season starts next Wednesday.

image: Fox

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