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Fox at the TCA press tour: In news of Earth-shattering importance, Mariah Carey joins American Idol as a judge

At his Television Critics Association press tour executive session, Fox president Kevin Reilly confirmed that singer Mariah Carey will be joining American Idol as a judge for its 12th season. This follows several weeks of uncertainty for the show, in which Steven Tyler left the show and Jennifer Lopez almost certainly did. (At an earlier session, Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said that he hoped Lopez would stick around for another season, saying she said she was only “99 percent” certain she was leaving. Reilly took issue with this, saying that no one slammed any doors shut on anybody else in the negotiation process but that he could say from his point of view it was “100 percent” that Lopez wouldn’t be on the show.) Idol’s ratings were down in the last season, so the signing of Carey is likely a step to shore up those numbers. Or it could have just been an opportunity to show off that Reilly knows her phone number, as he immediately dialed her on his cell phone from the stage, then had a brief conversation with her via speaker phone, before she had to go off and practice shattering glasses with her voice or hang out with Nick Cannon or whatever it is she does with her time. Reilly, suitably impressed with himself, probably should have immediately started shouting, “SUCK IT, NBC!” but didn’t, instead sitting down to field questions that will likely be about The Mindy Project, the final season of Fringe, and whether he and Carey also follow each other on Twitter. (Erik Adams will have a full report later today.)


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