We are rapidly racing toward the final selections of contestants to go into the voting rounds of American Idol 2013, and the same question is probably on everyone’s mind: What are the judges looking for in a winner for Season 12?
 
During a media conference call before the season started, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told reporters what kind of standout talent each of the judges is looking for. 
 
He explained that Nicki Minaj is looking for an artist, Mariah Carey is looking for the complete singer/songwriter, Randy wants someone who sings on pitch, and Keith Urban is looking for an instrumentalist who can match his or her voice with charisma. And who can we expect to channel Simon Cowell with a heavy hand? Nigel says it’s definitely Randy.  

And when it comes to the string of WGWGs (white guys with guitars) who have won, Nigel calls this a “girl’s season to lose.” When asked a bit more about how they can do this, the loquacious executive producer said, “It is about charisma and attracting an audience.” If a female can nail this on top of having a great voice, it’s hers to win.

As for whether a hip-hop artist or rapper could win this year due to Nicki’s addition to the show, Nigel said that hip-hop isn’t a genre, and rap is more akin to poetry and to drama. As he put it, “I don’t think rap fits into American Idol.” At least that’s something that he and Nicki can agree on.

American Idol 2013 continues next week with the Top 40 in Vegas. Are you excited to see who makes it through to the voting rounds?