What kind of judge do you think you'll be?

Mariah: I'm just going to be honest and someone who the contestants can look to for guidance as opposed to being the mean one or the nice one - it's not about that. I'm just me. I'm a producer, I've made a lot of records in my life and wrote songs. I know the studio (I've lived there all my life) and I've performed all over the world. So it's about them and what I can bring to them to help them or guide them in the right direction if that's possible. I just want to help someone along the way. That's something I always appreciated when I was working to get to do what I love to do. I won't be judging, I'll be guiding. I don't like the word "judge." Keith: Hopefully authentic. I don't think I'll be like that judge who crucified me back in Australia but I think we also need to know really truthfully what we're doing right or wrong. Hopefully, when it comes from an artiste, it'll be a slightly different thing.

What does Nicki bring to the panel?

Randy: I haven't worked with her before but I've known her for awhile. I think she'll bring a lot of beautiful insight and she'll bring people into a whole different world that nobody knows - intrigue and mystery. Ryan: She brings pizzazz, a sense of style and stardom, as well as the series' relevancy - a combination that I think the contestants will be excited about.

Ryan, do you recommend not singing Mariah songs during auditions?

I can't wait for a contestant to come and sing a Mariah song. I can't wait to see how that moment goes. I'm losing sleep over that.

What do you think of the new panel of judges?

Randy: Mariah and I go way back, like babies with pacifiers. I'm so excited that she's here. More than half the girls who walk in for auditions want to be her, so now it's time for them to face the music! I'm happy that Nicki's here too, she brings a whole new vibe. And Keith, he's unbelievably talented, so it's a really fresh Idol 12.

Ryan: There's diversity in this panel. The heritage of Mariah, the relevance of Nicki, the singer-songwriter component of Keith, and of course the history that Randy has as the glue on the show. I think we're ending up with a powerful, colourful and knowledgeable group of judges. And now that we've got four, it'll make the circus even more fun.

American Idol S12, which premiered yesterday airs every Thursday and Friday at 6pm (live) and 8pm (repeat) on Star World (Astro Ch 711) and Star World HD (Astro Ch 722).

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