Mariah Carey joins American Idol panel

Mariah Carey will now be joining American Idol as a judge next season after filling the female diva slot and removing doubts that Jennifer Lopez is leaving.

Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, wearing a grin as big as Carey’s list of hits, confirmed the hire on the phone with Carey in front of television critics Monday.

Carey, speaking to the group briefly by speakerphone, welcomed the new assignment. “I am so excited to be joining Idol,” she said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

A reported $12 million will be Careys salary for the first season alone which is the same rate at which Lopez was hired. Lopez reportedly made $15 million her second season, during which the show’s ratings tumbled, and unconfirmed sources said she was rebuffed when she asked for a raise to return for season three.

Now Fox has definitely moved on.

Let’s see how Carey’s involvement in Idol would boost its failing ratings as she pit against other divas from The Voice (Christina Aguilera) and X-Factor (Britney Spears).

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