Mariah Carey Confirmed as ‘American Idol’ Judge

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Mariah Carey will join American Idol as a judge when the show returns for its 12th season in January, FOX confirmed in a press release Monday.

“As a singer, songwriter and producer, it’s going to be fun and rewarding to help find new talent and give back with American Idol,” Carey, 42, said. “I’m currently in the studio working on my new album and its first single, ‘Triumphant,’ which will be out early next month. I can’t wait to channel my creative energy as a part of this show, which is a massive global phenomenon.”

Added Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller: “We are proud to have one of the world’s greatest-ever female singers join our show. Mariah defines the word ‘Idol’ and will inspire every singer that has the honor of performing in front of her.”

As Celebuzz reported Friday, the new deal could earn Carey upwards of $17 million. Further details of the deal, including how many seasons she is signed for, remain under wraps.

In wake of the news, the singer — who is married to comedian Nick Cannon, with whom she has twins, Moroccan and Monroe — tweeted, “It’s gonna be so much fun working on @AmericanIdol. As a singer-songwriter, I’m excited to help find and nurture new talent. LYM! –MC.”

Carey — who has sold over 200 million records worldwide — had been rumored to be a possible addition to the show for weeks. Other rumored judges include Fergie, Nicki Minaj and Idol’s season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert.

She joins American Idol following the departures of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who confirmed earlier this month that they would be leaving TV’s top-rated show after two seasons.

No word yet on who will replace Tyler, or whether Randy Jackson, a close friend of Carey’s, will be returning next season.

Asked over the weekend by Celebuzz at L.A.’s 14th annual Hollyrod Foundation gala, benefitting DesignCare, if she is still interested in returning to Idol — the show that made her a TV star — Paula Abdul said she was still leaving the door open.

“You know what? Funny things in life happen, you never rule anything out,” Abdul said. “I would say that it was something I was proud to be a part of…. But, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.”

Carey, of course, is one of music’s biggest icons, having achieved 17 number-one hits in her 20-plus years in the business. Some of the five-time Grammy winner’s biggest hits include “Fantasy,” “Vision of Love,” “We Belong Together” and her most recent number-one smash, “Touch My Body.”

Ironically enough, Carey was supposed to appear as a mentor on last season of The X Factor, which features original American Idol judge Simon Cowell; however, the singer had to cancel her appearance due to travel complications caused by Hurricane Irene.

What do you think of Carey joining American Idol? Will she be the next Jennifer Lopez — or Paula Abdul? Sound off in the comments, below!

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