- - Thursday, October 4, 2012

“American Idol” season 12 tapings are just getting under way and Keith Urban already has become more than just a judge: He’s also the pacifier on the newly-minted panel.

“We’re all passionate people and we’re learning a new dance and we’re all a work in progress,” Mr. Urban said Wednesday at the New York Film Festival gala honoring his wife, Nicole Kidman. According to the Associated Press, he likened his role on “Idol” to that of the United Nations.

Rumors of drama between fellow judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey began to swirl as soon as the new panel was announced. A blurry Web video released Tuesday by TMZ.com shows what appears to be an argument between Miss Minaj and Miss Carey, fueling gossip of discontent among the judges.

But Mr. Urban insisted the group, which also includes veteran judge Randy Jackson, is “getting along.” The new season of the Fox singing competition premieres in January.

In the Web video Mr. Urban is seen raising his hands in defeat next to a seemingly furious Miss Minaj, who is shouting obscenities. A composed Miss Carey is heard saying, “Why do I have a 3-year-old sitting around me?”

When asked what it feels like to be stationed between the dueling divas, Mr. Urban cracked a wry smile.

“Best seat in the house,” he said.

‘Shore’ cast looks back as final season gets started

The clock is ticking for “Jersey Shore.”

The boozy reality TV series about a group of self-proclaimed “guidos” and “guidettes” cohabiting in a run-down Seaside Heights, N.J., party house is winding down as its sixth — and MTV promises final — season gets under way almost three years after it debuted and became a pop-cultural situation spawning catchphrases, punch lines, hairdos and tabloid fodder.

Don’t remind the show’s cast. They’re not quite ready for their 15 minutes of fame to end.

“That was the longest 15 minutes of my life!” Ronnie Ortiz-Magro boasted during a recent Associated Press interview with his pals.

“We got, like, a half hour,” joked Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio.

What began as yet another MTV reality show — “The Real World” with fist-pumping Italian-American twentysomethings — became one of the network’s biggest hits. Over the past five seasons, the Thursday night show dominated the Nielsen ratings, drawing as many as 8 million viewers and consistently ranking as the No. 1 cable series in the 12-to-34-year-old demographic.

As the popularity of “Jersey Shore” grew, so did disdain for the series documenting the drunken antics of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and company. Italian-American anti-defamation groups lashed out at “Jersey Shore” for its stereotypical portrayals. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie once deemed it “negative for New Jersey.”

Story Continues →