Mariah Carey Officially Named New 'American Idol' Judge

Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly also
confirms that Jennifer Lopez will not be back.
Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly opened
his executive session at the Television Critics
Association summer press tour with some news:
Mariah Carey will be on the American Idol judges
panel next season.

"We do in fact have one judge whose deal closed
very, very recently," said Reilly. "I think it's the
biggest recording artist that any of these shows
have ever had. It’s an artist that many contestenats
have tried to emulate, have tried to sing [her]
songs, have tried to hit the notes. Because [the
deal] really only concluded hours ago, our new
judge couldn’t be with us."
Reilly phoned Carey from his seat on the dais at the
Beverly Hilton Hotel.
"I am so excited to be joining Idol," said Carey. "I
wish I could be there today. I can't wait too get
started. "
Reilly also confirmed that Jennifer Lopez is indeed
"I think I can confirm that it's 100 percent that
Jennifer will not be back with the show," he said,
adding that the process of letting Tyler and Lopez
go was "transparent" and "mutual."
"We had a great experience with both of them;
creatively we were all happy. But we decided it was
time for a change."
The network is likely to settle on more cast
additions in the next couple weeks. "It's just a
matter of picking the right one [and finding the]
right chemistry."
Reilly would not comment on whether Randy
Jackson will return. He emphasized Jackson's close
working relationship with Carey, whom Jackson co-
manages. He also noted that Jackson (who has
been on the judging panel since season one) was
instrumental in Carey's deal.
And Reilly admitted that Idol's double-digit ratings
declines last season -- the show's 11th -- and the
glut of singing competition shows -- including the
network's X Factor and NBC's The Voice -- have
spurred the Idol's revamp.
"Although the show is as vital as ever, our ratings
were down," conceded Reilly. "Not being the only
game in town now, we needed to keep things
Reilly also added that Simon Cowell is close to
settling on a host for X Factor. Cowell earlier this
year fired Steve Jones as well as judges Paula
Abdul and Nicole Sherzinger, who will be replaced
by Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.
Following the session, Reilly told reporters that
Carey wasn't necessarily a "replacement" for
Lopez. "It was never the goal to replace her
[Jennifer Lopez]. I think they're very different
personalities. Once Jennifer declared that she in
fact was comfortable moving on, we made the
decision: You can call it a replacement, we never
went in to say, 'Who's going to be the Jennifer
replacement,' " he said, adding that there was "a
scenario where maybe [Lopez] would have stayed."
Additional judges are expected to be announced
shortly, with Reilly noting that in a nod to the first
season of Idol, they could be fresh faces. "There are
some 'nobodys' in the mix, there are some people
who are not a household name," he said, citing
Jimmy Iovine who wasn't a household name when
he boarded the series.
As for whether Carey's new Idol deal would
eliminate her appearing on X Factor, Reilly said that
decision ultimately was in Cowell's hands. "There's
no legal reason why," he said of a potential
mentorship on X Factor, something Cowell has
experessed a strong desire to see. "Whether that
would muddy the waters, I don't know. Simon has a
relationship with her as well. I think that's really up
to him if he thinks that's fun, great. But he is not
struggling to get any names involved."

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