The American Idol age of Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey is officially over. Last night both singers turned Fox table mates announced their departures from the once and former biggest television show on the planet, marking the end of what was not a very auspicious (or very long) era in Idol history and the beginning of what will probably also not become a very auspicious era—for judges or ratings.
With tweets and statements from Fox (via Entertainment Weekly), Minaj and Carey bid farewell to the show. Carey, via her PR company, couched the announcement within an announcement of her world tour, while Minaj said it was "Time to focus on the Music!!!"
The initial promise of Minaj and Carey replacing Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler on Idol last summer for this past season was that their outsized personalities—sure to clash—would make, once again, for must-see Idol. And, wouldn't you know, in the lead-up to the season premiere, Idol was getting its most publicity for rumors of their catty fighting. Carey even told Barbara Walters that she was hiring security out of fear of Minaj. Of course, when the show actually premiered, the so-called fights never made that much of an impression (except for that time they challenged each other about Mean Girls trivia, which was pretty great).
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And Idol, once again, did not do well this season, which would prove to be the only one for the new judges. (Randy Jackson also quit earlier this month.) Even the Idol finale in May hit an all-time ratings low, and the show's downfall likely helped to rob Fox of the coveted 18-49 demographic this season, handing that money-maker over to CBS. So now Fox and the Idol production team, 11 years into one of the grandest and most successful experiments in TV history, press forward, hoping to reclaim their former glory... probably by handing the judging duties over to former Idol stars like Jennifer Hudson. But as our Idol guru Richard Lawson wrote about the alleged plan to swap Carey for Jennifer Lopez at midseason, it's not the judges that are going to save this thing—probably nothing can.