But if you're wondering whether to watch the show, we've collected the critics' viewpoints from around the web just for you. Naturally, the panel's infighting was the big topic of conversation, but it also seems that Nicki Minaj impressed with her judging skills (as did fellow newbie Keith Urban)! Read on to find out what the world is saying...
"Wednesday night's two-hour season premiere of American Idol was either incredibly predictable or somewhat infuriating, depending on how much pop culture news one has been following over the past few months. If one was already aware of the Nicki Minaj-Mariah Carey diva-off that had been teased and talked about, the premiere was about what one would expect: much ado about nothing. If not, well, I know my apology isn't much, but I'm sorry you had to sit through meaningful arguments about furry headwear and fake British accents."
"Wednesday's American Idol premiere delivered the drama that had been promised between new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, with the two headstrong divas clashing early and often over the course of the two-hour premiere. These were not knock-down, drag-out battles, mind you. This was just a case of two big egos. Maybe they're best friends and the feud is all for the cameras, but they do seem to genuinely be annoyed with one another."
"Minaj - one of three new judges on American Idol this season, along with Carey and Keith Urban - grabs attention the moment the camera lights come on. She'll be the most polarising part of the show's 12th season... The show's long-suffering, more conservative audience may hate her, even to the point of tuning out the show, but the viewers who can see past her outrageous outfits and mood ring hair colour will find a woman who has a very clear vision of what she wants to find in a contestant - as well as a heart full of compassion for the socially awkward people the show attracts. She may take some getting used to, but Minaj has the potential to be the best judge Idol has seen since about two years before Simon Cowell jumped ship."
"The surprisingly snoozy Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have been ushered out and replaced with Minaj, Carey and Urban, who gives the show some country cred even though he's Australian. Rounding out the panel is Idol mainstay and pitch policeman Randy Jackson. It's a fiery mix of talent and ego that should make for a dynamic season."
Wall Street Journal
"If you were hesitant to buy into the season 12 American Idol hype about Mariah versus Nicki, well, seeing is believing. These two were at each other like two teenage sisters forced to share a room and a wardrobe. The bickering seemed real and was a constant and the eye rolling, well there was a lot of it. The pleasant surprise was Nicki Minaj, whose comments were compassionate, thoughtful, and insightful throughout. Her revolving hair colour, well, that's another story."
"By the second hour of NYC auditions, Nicki had completely taken over the panel... Compared to the autopilot judging on The X Factor and even Idol last season, I am thrilled to have someone in the driver's seat, and beyond ecstatic that all four judges appeared to be awake and even [gasp!] interested in what was happening. The question is whether millions of American Idol viewers will accept and enjoy that our season 12 chauffeur appears to be rainbow sherbet wig enthusiast Nicki Minaj. It's honestly a lot to swallow. And it tastes nothing like delicious sherbet. Not yet."
"Because of the editing and the hype, we may never know just how problematic the ladies on the panel are, but Mariah's seemingly overstated antics and Nicki's eye-rolling at least made for compelling (for these two hours, at least) television. As for the gents, Randy Jackson can judge in his sleep... and Keith Urban proved to be the cutest thing out of New Zealand since Bilbo Baggins and a complete gentleman throughout."
The Huffington Post
"New judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey were arguing and bickering from the opening minute until the bitter end. Fellow new judge Keith Urban was almost completely overshadowed by the two women surrounding him. For the most part, the contestants were too. It's likely that more people will remember various comments, accents and gestures made by Mariah and Nicki before they remember anything about the young hopefuls who stood before the panel and showed what they had."
Los Angeles Times
"We can only hope that these moments [of judge infighting] will be few and far between on the actual show. While there is a cheesy-cheap thrill to be had watching two stars scrabble over a bit of spotlight, having them do it in front of the earnest young hopefuls makes for uncomfortable viewing."
"Season 12 is neither here nor there so far. A few good singers, but nobody makes an impression. A couple of half-decent zingers from Nicki, but all are met with weary sighs from Mariah. It's all frightfully tiresome."
The Hollywood Reporter
"It became glaringly obvious that this was not the warm and fuzzy 'we love your story, so yes' judging panel of yesteryear... Minaj showcases her colourful flair - she's funny, unfiltered, and clearly on the hunt for more than just a passable vocalist... As for Carey, she gave salient advice to delusional auditioners... while offering astute observations on vocal tone and delivery... Urban, strategically seated between the two women, has experience behind the judging table and it shows. Now, if he's ever able to get a word in edgewise, it will be great to hear what he has to say."
"No matter how Nicki Minaj and her expressive eyebrow perform over the next several months, she's not going to 'save' the show from its annual ratings slippage - oh how 99% of programmes wish they had those kinds of problems! - nor will she 'destroy' The House That Kelly Clarkson Built. Ditto for The Lady Carey, she of the gigantic voice, fragile ego, keen ear and penchant for delicious bitchery. Or the other new judge Keith Urban, who's got great hair and a sweet, thoughtful demeanor. (Randy Jackson, well, he always has the potential to ruin everything.) My point here is - and every die-hard Idoloonie knows this - Fox's ubiquitous singing competition will always live or die based on its contestants, not on its all-star panel."
"Let's keep the trainwreck factor confined to the less talented contestants. Nobody likes a diva - and this is going to get old fast."
What did you think of the American Idol premiere? Let us know below!
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox in the US, and on Thursdays and Fridays on 5* in the UK.