Its out the with the old and in with the new at American Idol. The “diva” chair once held by Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi and most recently by Jennifer Lopez will be occupied by Mariah Carey.
Unarguably one of the recording industries best artists ever, Carey will add American Idol judge to her already impressive resume which already includes 18 number one singles and over 200 millions records sold.
Rumors started swirling last week that Jennifer Lopez would be leaving the FOX singing competition after two seasons on the judges panel. Idol Executive producer Simon Lythgoe offered a glimmer of hope that Lopez might early Monday saying the “On the Floor” singer was only “99%” confirmed to leave. Then later in the day, FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly told a group of television critics he spoke with Mariah on the telephone adding: “I think I can say it’s 100%.” By night fall, Lopez made her exit official saying she would be leaving her Idol post to focus on her own music career.
The underlying truth is said to be that Lopez couldn’t get the money she wanted to return for a third season after her second year as a judge also marked the singing competition’s lowest rated season. J. Lo was reportedly paid $12 million dollars for her first season, $15 million for her second and wanted an even bigger paycheck for her third.
Rumor has it, Carey will be paid $18 million for her first season. If that buzz is true, Lopez is likely feeling the burn. Reilly said the goal is to “keep things fresh.”
Lithgoe and Mike Darnell, FOX president of alternative entertainment, shared in Reilly’s excitement.
We are proud to have one of the world’s greatest-ever female singers join our show,” said Fuller. “Mariah defines the word ‘Idol’ and will inspire every singer that has the honor of performing in front of her.”
“Mariah Carey is the real deal. Not only is she one of the best-selling artists and performers on the planet and one of the world’s most gifted vocalists, she also is a successful songwriter, record producer and actress,” Darnell added.
Carey is the only confirmed judge for the upcoming season of Idol. Steven Tyler has confirmed that he won’t return for a third season, and Randy Jackson’s role has yet to be determined. Idol insiders who spoke off the record say that the only original judge still involved with the show might leave the judge’s table and step into a mentoring role. FOX execs, however, did confirm that he was “instrumental” in bringing Carey to the show. The two are not only long-time friends, but Jackson also works on Carey’s management team.