It’s Official! Carey to Serve as American Idol Judge Next Season

It looks like Mariah Carey will be having an Idoltastic year…

The 42-year-old part-Venezuelan American singer will be replacing Jennifer Lopez at the judges’ table on American Idol next season.

Mariah Carey

Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly announced Carey’s signing at a meeting of the Television Critics Association on Monday, and then put the pop diva on speaker phone to confirm the deal.

“I am so excited to be joining American Idol,” exclaimed Carey. “This kind of all just happened really quickly.”

As previously reported, Carey has been the leading contender to join the panel this summer, following Lopez and Steven Tyler’s exits from Idol. As one of the music industry’s best-selling singers, Carey is expected to bring the star power the show needs to compete with rivals like The X Factor, which recently added Demi Lovato and Britney Spears as judges.

Carey’s salary is expected to be somewhere above $12 million — the sum paid Jennifer Lopez during her first year on the show — and possibly as high as $17 million.

“It’s the biggest recording artist that any of these [singing competition] shows have ever had,” Reilly told critics at their press tour in Beverly Hills. “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.”

Fox is now expected to focus on its search for another male judge. One dark horse candidate is former Idol contestant Adam Lambert.

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