Keith Urban Close to Joining ‘American Idol’

Keith Urban works the phones during the 'Music City Keep on Playin'' benefit concert (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Many names have been tossed around since the departures of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, and now it looks like “American Idol” could now be going a little bit country this season.

Country star Keith Urban is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to join the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and has now apparently moved ahead of Brad Paisley in the line to become a new judge.

Meanwhile, the publication also writes that Nicki Minaj is about to sign an $8 million deal to join Mariah Carey at the table for season 12 of the show.

Minaj and Urban have been in talks for weeks with Idol producers Fox, FremantleMedia and CORE Media Group’s 19 Entertainment according to the report.

Urban has already confirmed that he was in discussions with producers, telling an Australian radio station that he was in talks to join to show. If the deal gets completes, he would earn somewhere between $3 million to $4 million for his role. The report states that Brad Paisley apparently wanted Minaj-type salary to be part of the Fox show, which “Idol” producers didn’t want to pay.

Urban is, of course, married to actress and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman, and is one of country music’s biggest stars, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Apparently, the only mystery that remains with with Randy Jackson, who has not signed a contract, nor has he said he is walking away like Perry and Lopez. Idol producers are still talking with other prospective judges for that fourth slot.

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