Mariah Carey has officially joined the 12th season of American Idol. The 42-year-old diva has been rumored to take a spot on the fairly empty judges’ panel for some time now, and Fox made the official announcement today (July 23). Carey’s salary is reported to be at least $12 million, possibly as high as $17 million. That would make her the highest paid reality show judge on TV, besting Britney Spears‘ The X Factor salary by $2 mill.
“It’s the biggest recording artist than any of these [singing competition] shows have ever had,” Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly announced at the Television Critics Association’s summer 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.”
“Thank you! Yay! I’m so excited to be joining Idol,” said Carey via phone. “First of all, I wanted to be there today and I wish I could have been there today to tell you, but this just happened real quickly. I can’t wait to get started in a couple months. Everybody have a great TCA and I will see you in January!”
Mariah has previously appeared on American Idol as a performer and a mentor. During Season 7, the contestants performed songs from Carey’s songbook, with champ David Cook delivering a stripped down version of her 1996 single “Always Be My Baby.”
Does Judge Mimi make you want to watch the upcoming season of American Idol? If you doubt the entertainment value of hearing Mariah speak off the cuff, may we point you towards her acceptance speeches at the 2010 Palm Springs Film Festival and the 2010 People’s Choice Awards. Loopy, personable and totally popcorn-worthy. We can’t wait to see what she has to say every week.