Will Nicki Minaj’s Deal to Join “Idol” Spark a Coke vs Pepsi War?

US Weekly has confirmed two sources that say, Nicki Minaj has signed on to be the newest judge for “American Idol.”

One source says, “I’m not sure the deal is completely done yet, but yes, she is definitely doing it. A few more slight things to sign off on but it is happening.”

A second source adds that the R&B star is “100% confirmed to judge ‘American Idol.'”

It has already been announced that pop diva Mariah Carey will be joining the “Idol” judges table when the show returns for its 12th season. She was brought on in the wake of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez departing the show after two years. Randy Jackson, the only judge left from the original slate, has not officially signed on or announced he is leaving yet.

“Idol’s” interest in the pop star has reportedly sparked  a war between Pepsi and Coke. The two rivals are battling over superstar Nicki Minaj. The rapper/singer is reportedly at the top of the list for the open seat on season 12 of “Idol.” Combine her potential judgeship on “Idol” with her new endorsement deal with Pepsi and you have the perfect ingredients to launch a soft drink competition as a side show to “American Idol.” Minaj’s deal includes commercials, touring and album promo, “Idol” sponsor Coke is not very thrilled at the prospect. The leading soda company has been an “Idol” partner since season one, at a cost of $26 million per year, according to reports. Though the show was able to solve a similar problem when longtime sponsor Ford got wind of judge Jennifer Lopez’s commercial deal with Fiat, the Coke/Pepsi feud has much deeper roots but with the announcement of Minaj’s deal, the two either have agreed to work things out or are in talks.

The reason it was thought that Coke wouldn’t be able to accommodate the addition of Minaj to the judges table was because Pepsi cast her as the face of their product. Hence, Coke would then be fueling the star power Pepsi would depend on to make bank from the deal with the MC, and that’s was believed to be the last thing Coke would want.

However, following confirmation from Minaj that she was invited to join FOX’s X Factor USA, we’re not too sure why she’d decline that offer to accept another from a smaller outlet. Especially, when it could hinder her chances of landing a  performance spot on X Factor UK, which many fans are hoping would help boost her British profile and sales of her latest LP “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.” It makes no sense, but who can figure Minaj anyway?

So far it looks like Fox and FremantleMedia execs will have their way, with Minaj reportedly signed along with previously announced judge Mariah Carey, the only thing left is a country star (the leading candidate is Keith Urban, says an insider) and a Latin artist Enrique Iglesias (who is believed to be the No. 1 choice).

In March, Minaj showed genuine empathy toward those who compete on “Idol,” as we have learned from the “Hollywood Reporter,” “It’s very difficult to be picked apart. That rejection thing is heavy.”

Curiously, the big unknown is the show’s longest-sitting judge Randy Jackson. As Carey’s co-manager and longtime collaborator, he’s not going anywhere, but his role could be diminished, as others have reported. Supposedly, The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Jackson might step into a mentor role instead of Jimmy Iovine. But mainly, he’ll be around to serve as a sort of “comfort blanket” for Carey. Nevertheless, a source close to production says reports of an Iovine exit are “not accurate.”

The move to four judges makes sense at this point, considering that “The X Factor” and “The Voice,” the latter of which could end up being serious competition for “Idol,” both use a four-judge panel.

One last scenario that’s been rumored suggests that if Mariah and Nicki are two of the judges and Randy does indeed move into a different role, would Nick Jonas and Brad Paisley  two names that have been bandied about make sense?


Contributor D. Chandler

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