It’s been hinted at for some time, but Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly made it official earlier today by announcing Mariah Carey will be one of the judges on Season 12 of American Idol. Reilly made the announcement at a meeting of the Television Critics Association, saying that Fox and Mariah had reached a deal only hours before. He then put Mariah on speakerphone and she told the audience, “I am so excited to be joining Idol. I wish I could have been there myself to tell you. It all kind of just happened real quickly. I can’t wait to get started in a couple months…I will see you in January!”
Reilly used the Mariah signing as an opportunity to do some smack talking about the show’s competitors, stating “It’s the biggest recording artist any of these shows have ever had. It’s an artist many of these contestants have tried to emulate. [The deal] only concluded only hours ago. Not being the only game in town, we need to keep things fresh.”
There has been no salary information made available, though it is believed Mariah will be receiving between $12 million (the amount Jennifer Lopez got for Season 11) and $17 million.
The news comes on the heels of a mass exodus of AI judges as both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez will not be returning next season. Mariah is a huge score for the show, which has faltered in the ratings since going heads up against The Voice. Last season American Idol ratings dropped 23% from the previous year, leaving many to wonder if the king of reality competitions would lose its crown.
Ah, but Mariah Carey is pop music royalty if there ever was pop music royalty! She brings a HUGE crown, HUGE divattitude, HUGE talent, and a HUGE fan base with her – which is exactly the shot in the arm Idol needs! It should be interesting to see who Fox puts beside Mariah at the judges’ table. Whoever it is, they are in for a heck of a ride sitting alongside Mimi!
Reilly wouldn’t confirm or deny if Idol vet Randy Jackson would be leaving as well, but seemed to hint he would be sticking around by pointing out, “Randy has been working with Mariah for a long, long time and is in fact her co-manager. Randy was very instrumental in this deal.”
Reilly then put all the “J-Lo might still return” rumors to rest. “I think I can say that’s 100 percent that Jennifer won’t be coming back to the show.” Reilly said it was “mutual agreement” with Steven and Jennifer.