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American Idol Judges Are All Smiles in New Image
A Fox rep confirms that judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, along with returning judge Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest, completed the last round of auditions on Wednesday and Thursday aboard the Queen Mary, which is docked in Long Beach, Calif.
Next up for the judges – who are all smiles alongside Seacrest in an exclusive new Idol photo – is Hollywood Week, when they will whittle down the contestant pool to determine which singers will move on to the live shows.
Despite an on-set spat between Carey and Minaj during auditions in Charlotte, N.C., in early October, the judges have been getting along well during this latest round.
"Mariah and Nicki sat next to each other yesterday," an Idol source said Thursday. "There really is some great chemistry among all the judges."
The new panel has been working long hours, adds the source, but "they've found what they think is some seriously superstar talent out there."
The Long Beach set had its fill of special, expressive moments too, such as when an 8-year-old girl showed up dressed like Minaj – complete with a pink and blue wig – to support her auditioning aunt.
"Nicki told her she loved her color palette and talked to her about how important it is stay in school," says the source. "The little girl sang 'Starships' for Nicki, who let the girl and her brother sit on her lap for the audition. It was really cute."
The new season of Idol makes its debut over two nights, on Jan. 16 and 17.