First, it started as a rumor … then the rumor began to gain traction … today we learn officially that popstar Mariah Carey has signed on as a judge for the forthcoming season of American Idol. Fox revealed the news just moments ago at an event in Beverly Hills. According to sources, Mimi is set to make somewhere between $12 and $17 million to judge American Idol next season … putting her on par with the salary that Britney Spears is making to judge The X Factor. Click below to learn more about the deets of MC‘s new job on AI.
Paula Abdul, Jennifer Lopez and now … Mariah Carey. Fox just made it official: Carey is the latest successful pop diva to join American Idol. The 42-year-old will join the judges table for season 12. As reported in this week’s issue of EW, Carey has been the leading contender to join the panel this summer, which has seen a flurry of celebrity names floated in the press as possible candidates. Her salary is expected to be somewhere north of $12 million — the sum paid Jennifer Lopez during her first year on the show — and possibly as high as $17 million. Previously, Simon Cowell was courting Carey as a mentor for X Factor’s second season, though it’s not clear if her Idol announcement precludes an appearance on Fox’s other show. “It’s the biggest recording artist than any of these [singing competition] shows have ever had,” Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly told critics at their press tour in Beverly Hills on Monday. “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.” The move comes on the heels of Steven Tyler exiting the hit singing competition, and Fox being unable to convince Lopez to sign on for a third round. Lopez was holding out for a raise beyond her $15 million second-year salary and took to the media to proclaim that she was almost certainly leaving the show. If there was a slight chance of Lopez staying before, it vanished once Fox signed Carey — Fox won’t pay for two high-priced female vocalists. “I think I can say it’s 100 percent that Jennifer won’t be back on the show,” Reilly said … Despite some reports to the contrary, veteran judge Randy Jackson (who, as it so happens, is Carey’s manager and was involved in her negotiations) is now expected to stay on board, though nothing has yet been announced. Either way, Fox is expected to now focus on its search for another male judge. One dark horse (and attractively low budget) candidate is former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert. Fox’s decision to shake up Idol was effectively made months ago. In recent years, changing Idol‘s panel has typically resulted in a ratings spike, at least at the start of the season. For this year’s 11th season, Fox decided to leave the panel unchanged from the previous year and the series suffered the largest ratings drop in the show’s history. Though the show’s audience was still huge, averaging 18 million viewers per week, ratings were down 23 percent.
And there you have it … American Idol is going for broke by betting on Mariah Carey‘s star power. As I said before, IMHO, AI is a dead show … but the inclusion of Mariah gives it a much-needed jolt of possible new life. I’m really bummed to learn that Randy Jackson may stay on board … he was never a good judge, in my opinion. We’ll have to see who AI will select as the 3rd judge but now that Mimi is on board, people will likely be paying close attention. What do y’al think? Did YOU think AI would successfully get Mariah to sign on? Does her hiring make you more likely to watch the show?