AP Television Writer
POSTED: 12:19 p.m. HST, Jul 23, 2012
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. >> Mariah Carey will join "American Idol" as a judge next season, Fox announced Monday, bringing her star power to the show that remains a ratings leader but has seen its viewership and pop culture status diminish.
"I am so excited to be joining 'Idol,'" said Carey, addressing the Television Critics Association via Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly's cell phone, which he put on speaker for the hotel ballroom meeting.
She couldn't be on hand with the group because "this kind of all just happened really quickly," Carey said in her brief remarks. "I can't wait to get started in the fall. .... and I will see you in January."
The show, which saw judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez exit at the end of last season, will be back on the air for season 12 in January.
Reilly called Carey "the biggest recording artist that any of these (talent) shows has ever had," adding that she was the "artist that many of these contestants have tried to emulate, have tried some of the songs, have tried to hit the notes."
Playing the drama up, Reilly dialed Carey's number and put her on speaker.
"Hi Mariah. How are you? It's Kevin," he said. "We do have the deal, don't we?"
"Yes!" Carey replied.