updated 01/17/2013 AT 9:25 AM ET
•originally published 01/17/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
American Idol’s revamped panel of judges debuted Wednesday on Fox, with Randy Jackson joined by Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey – that same Mariah who’s always been cited as someone’s inspiration, role model or goddess since the show’s very first season, and whose recordings have outsold those of all Idol singers combined.
Even though Forbes estimates that this new lineup, including host Ryan Seacrest, costs $54 million – the reality-singing competition field is too competitive now to throw in a Paula Abdul and pray – they didn’t work terribly hard for the money.
During auditions in New York City, they mostly sat there glassy-eyed. They seemed uncomfortable with each other and uncommunicative. They could have been poll watchers, pencils in hand, waiting at their cardboard tables by the voting booths.