While I have long been an avid consumer of our popular culture, there is one tent pole that I have avoided. At first, it was a pointed protest against what I thought was a silly televised karaoke contest. Later, after it proved to be a star-maker, I stayed away out of spite; what entertainment value would I, then a cultured college student working on being as pretentious as possible, get out of this live singing spectacle. These days, I avoid it out of apathy – outside of the day-to-day business of still being one of the biggest shows on TV, something I cover professionally, I haven't thought about "American Idol" as got-to entertainment in years.
That all changed this afternoon (July 23) when it was announced that Mariah Carey was on board – for real this time, officially – to take up one of the seats at the judges' table recently vacated by Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
While I still have almost no interest in "Idol," I have endless interest in Carey, who is not only an unquestionably talented singer but also slightly out-there and such a huge star that there isn't a PR team, label A&R guy or TV junior executive that will be able to stop her from saying and doing exactly as she wants … And that's awesome, because the things she usually wants to do are magic (like this).
Here are three reasons I will watch "American Idol" for the first time now that Mariah Carey is judging.
1. Mariah Carey says what she wants.
When Mariah was asked on a red carpet earlier this year to share her feelings on Britney Spears joining "The X Factor," Carey said bluntly, "You think I focus on that stuff? Have we met? I love her [Britney], honestly, I think she's a very nice person, but I don't care who's going on that show – as long as it's not me."
In 2010, she also called into her husband Nick Cannon's radio show pretending to be "Debbie from Long Island" and said, "Nick, come on, you know you look at porn. Tonight when me and my husband look at porn, I already know it's gonna be a humdinger!"
She says whatever she is thinking the second she is thinking it. This will make for great television.
2. Mariah Carey is not afraid of a feud.
Carey is a master at throwing shade and is not afraid to get into a public war of words. All the way back in 1995, she dissed Madonna by saying, "I really haven’t paid attention to Madonna since I was in like seventh or eighth grade when she used to be popular." There were years of rumors about a feud between Carey and Whitney Houston that the pair denied. What Carey has never denied is her long-simmering, occasionally heated feud with Christina Aguilera.
Even Lady Gaga knows better than to get in Mariah's crosshairs. "I am not getting in the line of Mariah, no thanks" Gaga said in a 93.2 NOW radio interview. "No, thank you. I've been listening to her sing since I was young and I am not getting in the line of Mariah."
Wise words from a smart girl.
3. Mariah Carey is awesome on live television.
In July 2011, Carey appeared on HSN to sell her many products. Gawker cut Carey's two-hour appearance into a four minute clip that it titled "The Best Four Minutes of Mariah Carey’s Insane HSN Appearance." Watch it to see exactly why you should be excited for Mariah to be on live TV every week and not just once a year.
Also, check out this super cut of your favorite divas talking about other divas to get a taste of the real Mariah (and to see what they all really think about each other).
Are you excited to see Mariah on "AI"? Let us know in the comments below!