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It's official: Mariah Carey is pulling up a seat at the judge's table! Following the departures of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler from American Idol, Carey, 42, has stepped forward to fill the diva void for season 12 of the hit FOX singing-competition series.
"I am so excited to be joining Idol," the singer told reporters via conference call on Monday, during the Television Critics Association summer tour. "First of all, I wanted to be there today and I wish I could've been there to tell you, but I think you know this all kind of just happened real quickly, so I can't wait to get started in a couple months."
While announcing the news on Monday afternoon, Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said that Carey sealed the deal "very, very recently." But rumor has it that Mariah has been in negotiations with Idol for several weeks now. Last Monday, People reported that the singer was in "serious talks" to become a judge, and HuffPo's Rob Shuter said the deal was as good as done.
In fact, the only person who cast doubt on Carey's Idol aspirations was her own husband, America's Got Talent host Nick Cannon. Talking to TMZ recently, Cannon joked that Idol couldn't afford Mariah Carey. (See the interview below.)
"They gave J Lo $20 million. They might have to double that," he declared. (In fact, there are conflicting reports about what Lopez made on Idol, but it's probably between $12 and $20 million. There's no official word yet on what Carey is getting paid, though it is expected to be between $12 million and $17 million.)
Like Britney Spears coming onto X Factor, Mariah Carey joining American Idol is bound to bring in new viewers. But will she bring in other famous judges, too? There's still that vacancy left by Tyler, and longtime judge Randy Jackson is reportedly on the fence about staying. There's no shortage of pop stars under consideration for the judge's table; rumored replacements include Miley Cyrus, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Katy Perry, Nicky Minaj, Fergie, will.i.am, Mary J. Blige and Celine Dion. Who will be bold enough to step up alongside Mimi? We can't wait to find out!