updated 01/15/2013 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/16/2013 AT 9:10 AM ET
Fans, keep your eyes on the ladies during the new season of American idol. That’s the advice from several of the show’s judges, who think a woman will win the singing competition this year.
“Girls, do not disappoint the Dawg. I think it’s the girls’ year,” Randy Jackson tells PEOPLE of the new crop of contestants on the reality show, which premieres Wednesday (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.
“There are some talented boys, but I must say, I think the girls could really win one,” he adds. “We haven’t had a girl winner in so long.”
New judge Nicki Minaj agrees that the women contestants really bring their A-game to the show. “The girls are exceptional. I mean, a girl will definitely win this year, I think,” she says.
Minaj finds the ladies are “more seasoned, more poised, more professional” – and some of them combine that maturity with a great voice.
According to Keith Urban, the level of talent was so high overall this season that the judges struggled to figure out who should be cut.
“All four of us had the conversation, ‘What are we looking for?’ ” he said. “Because we can’t send two million people to Hollywood.”