American Idol finally started replacing departing judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez by announcing on Monday that Mariah Carey will be on the panel for Season 12. Fox's Kevin Reilly said another judge will be added within the next two weeks.
It was unclear if Carey's contract extends past one season but reports have it that she'll be paid in the range of $15 million a year. "I am so excited to be joining Idol," the five-time Grammy award winning Carey, 42, told media over a conference call. "I wish I could have been there myself to tell you, but this all kind of just happened. I can't wait to get started."
American Idol Season 11 numbers down
Viewership numbers were down for Season 11 by 23 percent, that despite strong performances of winner Phillip Phillips, runner-up Jessica Sanchez and third-place finisher Joshua Ledet, and by others in the top ten. It was the second year Tyler and Lopez had joined Randy Jackson, who has been on the panel since the first season. Ryan Seacrest will be back as host.
Reilly declined to comment on the status of Jackson for next season. Season 12 begins in January and the auditioning process has already begun.