By Gil Kaufman
Pretty soon, reality singing shows are going to run out of divas. One of the biggest dominos fell on Monday (July 23) when Mariah Carey announced that she will indeed be sitting behind the table on "Idol" next season.
Following the news last week that the singer was in final negotiations? to replace Jennifer Lopez? on the show, Carey called in to the Television Critics Association summer press tour gathering for Fox shows and confirmed the news announced just moments earlier by Fox President Kevin Reilly.
According to TV Guide, Carey dialed in and told Reilly, "I am so excited to be joining 'Idol.' I can't wait to get started." The whirlwind hiring of Carey stood in stark contrast to the prolonged search for replacement judges two years ago, when rumors swirled for months before Lopez and fellow departed judge, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, signed on for season 10. Excitement about the fresh blood on "Idol" helped keep the ship steady in season 10, but this year's season 11 suffered the steepest ratings drop in the show's history, with ratings down 23 percent.
"It's the biggest recording artist than any of these [singing competition] shows have ever had," Reilly told critics, according to Entertainment Weekly. "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."
Reilly told the gathered press that Carey's manager and frequent studio companion, sole remaining original "Idol" judge Randy Jackson, was "very instrumental" in brining the star to the show. While it was not confirmed what role Jackson will play on the re-re-booted panel? — there have been suggestions that he might move from judge to mentor? — Reilly said that after suggestions that Lopez might be lured back, he could confirm with 100 percent certainty that she will not return.
While the latter was old news in the wake of Lopez's teary farewell last week, what Reilly did not reveal is who will fill out the rest of the judging roster. Carey, 42, will reportedly earn $17 million for one season, which puts her just above the reported $15 million Britney Spears is taking in for her role on ex-"Idol" judge Simon Cowell's "X Factor."
With Spears and Demi Lovato heating things up on "Factor" and Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton bringing their star power to "The Voice," the bold name arms race in the reality singing world has gone into overdrive over the past year. Former "Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert?, whose asking price will most surely be well below Carey's diamond-studded price tag, has been rumored to be circling the third seat on the panel, but Reilly didn't address that possibility on Monday.
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