And Mariah Carey is…so in!
Fox President Kevin Reilly just announced to reporters at the TV Critics Association press tour that Mariah closed a deal ("only hours ago") to become a judge on the next season of American Idol.
Mariah herself spoke to reporters via speakerphone, saying: "I am so excited to be joining Idol. I wish I could have been there myself to tell you. It all kind of just happened real quickly. I can't wait to get started in a couple months…I will see you in January!"
Reilly did not underplay Mariah's casting, telling reporters: "It's the biggest recording artist than any of these shows have ever had. It's an artist many of these contestants have tried to emulate. [The deal] only concluded only hours ago. Not being the only game in town, we need to keep things fresh."
Reilly declined to comment on whether long-time staple Randy Jackson would return, but pointed out, "Randy has been working with Mariah for a long, long time and is in fact her co-manager. Randy was very instrumental in this deal."
As for Jennifer's status, Reilly put all the rumors to rest by saying there is no chance of her returning for the following season. "I think I can say that's 100 percent that Jennifer won't be coming back to the show." Reilly called it a "mutual agreement" with Steven and Jennifer.
Excited for Mariah's casting? Who else are you hoping to see at the judges' table this January?