We are very excited that Mariah Carey is set to join "American Idol" in the fall. I mean, we've never really watched "A.I.," but we might give it a shot now just to see what the famously loopy diva has to say, especially to the less-than-talented contestants that audition early on and don't make it through. Mariah Carey doesn't hide her feelings, so we're hoping for some Cowell-level slights mixed with diva eye rolling. It's going to be amazing.
The motives behind the singer's decision to sign up for FOX's long-running reality singing competition still aren't clear. We're sure the $18 million check she'll cash for just one season if "Idol" certainly has something to do with it, but Mariah Carey has all the money in the world – her estimated net worth is $500 million. No, we think there's more to it than money. Mariah is looking to pull a J.Lo.
Before signing on to join "Idol" in 2011, Lopez's career was, well, not exactly thriving. Her 2010 rom-com "The Back-Up Plan" bombed and before it she hadn't starred in a film since the 2006 misfire "El Cantante." Her 2007 album Brave also failed to get much attention, debuting at a career-worst #12 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Then suddenly, things turned around dramatically. Lopez's single "On the Floor" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at number nine (the highest debut of her career) and went on to peak at No. 3. It marked her first top ten hit since 2003's "All I Have." With nearly 570 million views on YouTube, the video for "On the Floor" is the most watched video ever by a female artist ever on the video-watching website. (Justin Bieber's "Baby" remains the YouTube champion by a substantial margin with more than 761 million views.)
With Lopez seated behind the "Idol" judges table, the juggernaut show posted its first season-over-season ratings gain since 2007 (though it went on to falter in her second season on the show). Her album Love? was released in April 2011 and debuted at No. 5, her highest position on the US album chart since 2005. Even film roles are starting to crop up again; this year, Lopez starred in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and voiced a character in the fourth "Ice Age" film. She's also already filmed director Taylor Hackford's ("Ray") thriller "Parker" opposite Jason Statham and Clifton Collins Jr.
In May, she topped Forbes magazine's list of the most powerful celebrities and she is now touring the world with Enrique Iglesias in support of her best-of package, Dance Again … The Hits.
So things are going, you know, pretty well.
Going into "Idol" this fall, Carey's circumstances are not unlike Lopez's when she joined the show. (If far less dire; Mariah Carey is a music legend who could, among other things, set up a blockbuster Las Vegas residency, Celine Dion-style, if she really wanted.) Her last studio album, 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, was a commercial disappointment, and she failed to capitalize on the positive reviews she received for her small part in the Oscar-nominated "Precious" by booking further acting gigs. Also like Lopez, Carey has turned her attention to her family in recent years, welcoming twins Moroccan and Monroe in April 2011.
Carey is now looking to revitalize her recording career ahead of the release of her fourteenth studio album, which is due sometime this fall. The first single from the set, "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" featuring Rick Ross and Meek Mill, will be released in early August. By signing on to "Idol," Carey is likely hoping the exposure from the show will bleed over into her recording career, as it did for Lopez, and mean big business.
Carey is planning to drop an album square in the middle of the show's season just like Lopez did last year. And don't be surprised when Carey doubtlessly takes the stage this fall to push her latest single. After all, Lopez was smart enough to use her captive "A.I." audience to showcase her latest single, "Dance Again," and press her current tour. For these two divas, judging is only part of point of being a member of the "Idol" family.