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Mariah Carey joins American Idol judging panel

Published: July 24, 2012 | 10:01 am
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Singer is first confirmed judge on US TV series since the departure of Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler

Mariah Carey has joined the forthcoming season of American Idol. The 42-year-old singer, who has sold more than 100m albums worldwide, is the TV series’ first confirmed judge since the departure of Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

Carey will reportedly be paid $17m (£11m) for one season on American Idol, a salary $2m higher than what Britney Spears will receive as the US X Factor’s latest judge. With Tyler and Lopez gone, it’s unclear who will join Carey on the judging panel. Aretha Franklin has offered to become a judge, but that may not be enough for studio executives: as the programme tries to overcome flagging ratings, even Randy Jackson, American Idol’s only remaining original judge, may be shuffled to a “mentor” position. Jackson is Carey’s manager and was “very instrumental”, said Fox network president Kevin Reilly, in drawing the singer to the show.

While American reality TV singing competitions now feature top-tier talent – Spears and Demi Lovato on The X Factor, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine on The Voice – it wasn’t always this way. For American Idol’s first season, there was only one performer on the panel: Paula Abdul, who had not released an album for seven years. Today, as networks battle for ratings, Simon Cowell is the only non-performer to be seen as a major draw for audiences.

Last Saturday, Carey announced the release of Triumphant (Get ‘Em), the lead single from her forthcoming album. Due in August, the song features Rick Ross and Meek Mill. Apart from a 2010 Christmas album, Carey’s most recent record was 2009′s Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. It reached No 23 in the UK.


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