After days of speculation, Mariah Carey is officially on board as a new judge on American Idol. Fox made the announcement Monday.
In a statement, Mariah says, "As a singer, songwriter and producer, it’s going to be fun and rewarding to help find new talent and give back with American Idol....I can't wait to channel my creative energy as a part of this show which is a massive global phenomenon."
Similarly, she tweeted immediately after the announcement, "It's gonna be so much fun working on @AmericanIdol. As a singer-songwriter, I'm excited to help find and nurture new talent."
Mariah also phoned into Fox’s Television Critics Association panel in California, saying she is excited to join the show.
The singer will be collecting an $18 million paycheck for being a judge, an Idol insider tells UsWeekly. The insider says, "Mariah is getting paid $18 million with a one-year option to do Idol, making her the highest-paid judge on any music competition show." In comparison, Jennifer Lopez earned about $12 million per season on Idol.
Mariah fills one of the slots on the Idol judges' panel vacated by Steven Tyler and Lopez earlier this month. It's also been rumored that Mariah's pal, Randy Jackson, will transition from judge to mentor next season.
Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly told journalists at the Television Critics Association event that he's excited with the signing, and seemed to imply it might not have been Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez's decision to leave the show. Reilly acknowledged that ratings were down this past season and added, “And not being the only game in town now, we need to keep things fresh.”
Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is still holding out hope that Lopez will be back, even though she has already stated she’s 99 percent sure she will not be returning. Speaking at the TCA event, Lythgoe said, “I'm hoping that one percent may mean she's not leaving.”
Idol returns to the airwaves next January.
Incidentally, Mariah Carey's husband, Nick Cannon, is also involved in a reality TV competition: he's the host of NBC's America’s Got Talent.
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