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American Idol: Mariah Carey Raking in $18 Mil, Nicki Minaj $12 Mil

It’s official—Nicki Minaj and her many alter egos will be joining the judges table at “American Idol,” along with Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson.

The announcement came yesterday as the taping of Idol’s 12th season began in New York City. Minaj and Urban didn’t leave a lot of breathing room for Idol producers, as the contract negotiations went down to the wire, according to the LA Times.

While the composition of the judging panel has been the worst-kept secret in Hollywood for months, the judges couldn’t be officially announced until they all signed on the dotted line. And in the ultimate test of each of their star power, this is how the new salaries line up:

Carey is the top dog, with a contract worth close to $18 million, factoring in allowances for wardrobe, hair and makeup, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Next is Ryan Seacrest at $15 million a year. Minaj comes in third at $12 million a year, while Urban will be pocketing $6 million. According to various reports, Jackson will be earning somewhere between $5 million and $6.5 million.

Seacrest is signed on for two more years, while each of the judges have signed one-year contracts.

“American Idol’s star power has never been so great,” executive producer Simon Fuller said. Fox executive Mike Darnell said the network was “thrilled” about the panel. “Nicki’s an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop … [And] I know that our fans and contestants will fall in love with [Keith].”

Fans may tune in just to watch the panel relationship between Minaj and Carey, who complained bitterly when she first heard the news of Minaj’s possible signing. Usually there’s only room for one diva at the judging table—Idol this year signed up two. While it’s a bit of a cliche to expect tension between the two women on the set, Carey set this up with her reaction to the much younger woman—Minaj is 29, while Carey is 42.

We can only hope that Carey doesn’t try too hard to upstage the “Starships” rapper.

While “The Voice” and “The X Factor” are considered Idol’s big competitors, those shows have not had big ratings numbers thus far this season. Even with Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, ratings for “The X Factor” are down by a third from last year.

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