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Published On: Fri, Jan 4th, 2013

‘America Idol’ season 12 is set to return with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson as judges

 Mariah Carey is back with “American Idol” alongside Nicki Minaj, country star Keith Urban for season 12 alongside the sole original judge, Randy Jackson. Now the production is underway and Carey addresses her return to the show as Fox brings in the controversial Minaj.

American Idol season 12 Hollywood reporter magazineSpeaking in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter released on Thursday, executive producer Ken Warwick singles out Nicki Minaj when it comes to what the public perception of her may be, and what she actually comes across like both on the show behind the scenes and with some of the contestants:

“The perception of Nicki is unfair, really. Everyone thought she was just a daft, half-educated rapper. But she has got a heart, and it’s starting to show, along with her intelligence, which threw some of us as well. And her eloquence and her grasp of what’s going on. I think she’ll surprise a lot of people.”

The new THR will be available January 11 and Carey opens up about returning to the show.

“I was on the fence about the whole thing … I got approached by all the [singing competition] shows,” Carey said, adding that she chose “Idol” thanks to advice from her husband Nick Cannon. “He said I should do it because it’s the top, it’s the cream of the crop. And I felt like, ‘Do the show that’s produced massive stars who have had major careers.'”

It was Fox’s Mike Darnell who is credited with getting Minaj to take the leap to “Idol.”

“He was so lovable and made me feel so comfortable and confident. He kept saying, ‘I promise we’re going to protect you; you’re going to love it, we’re a big family,” she said. “Sometimes you are afraid of being too famous because it’s almost, like, is that even cool? Being that accessible, someone you see on TV every week? I never pictured myself as that type of person.”

Minaj and Carey famously engaged in a feud earlier this year, with Minaj saying, “I told them, I’m not f—in’ putting up with her f—ing highness over there, figure it the f— out,” about Carey.

“There are not too many dull moments between the two of them, but at the end of the day, we all hug and laugh and go home and get ready for another day,”the show’s host Ryan Seacrest told “Today” in September. “They get along fine, but they’re strong and candid in their opinion.”

Check out the complete story here or pick up a copy of THR later this month.

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