In a bit of drama that looked a bit like a Bob Newhart bit, Fox Entertainment president announced to reporters at the TV Critics Association press tour that multiplatinum singing artist Mariah Carey to be the newest judge on “American Idol.”
Then he tried to get her on the phone. At first misdialing and then reaching her and asking if he could put her on speaker phone, Carey, calling from undisclosed location expressed her pleasure in joining the judges panel that had lately been vacated by Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.
“I’m so excited to join ‘Idol,” Carey or someone who sounded very much like her, said over the phone. “I can’t wait to get started.”
The deal itself was finished just hours before Reilly’s executive session at Fox’s day at the press tour Monday. He said the sole remaining original judge, Randy Jackson, who has history in the recording studio with Carey was instrumental in sealing the deal.
There had been a lot of talk about retooling the country’s No. 1 show for a decade in the wake of a precipitous drop in ratings last season.
“Not being only game in town now, we knew we had to keep it fresh,” Reilly says.
Earlier Monday, “Idol” producer Simon Lythgoe said he held out hope that Jennifer Lopez wasn’t leaving the show, since she had indicated she was only 99 percent sure of the choice. But Reilly said it was clear J-Lo would go. She made her comments the day after Tyler had announced his departure.
In official comments released at the same time of the announcements, Carey found time to plug her impending new album.
“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,’” she 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.”
“We are proud to have one of the world’s greatest-ever female singers join our show,” said ‘Idol’ creator and executive producer Simon Fuller in his own prepared remarks. “Mariah defines the word ‘Idol’ and will inspire every singer that has the honor of performing in front of her.”