Mariah Carey Named New 'American Idol' Judge

Categories: 1-Featured

Written By

July 23rd, 2012


Updated - via press release:



Mariah Carey, one of the best-selling female recording artists of all time, has joined AMERICAN IDOL as a new judge. A five-time Grammy Award-winning global superstar with more than 200 million records sold worldwide and more No. 1 songs than any solo artist in history, her 18 Billboard No. 1 singles (17 of which Carey wrote) rival all but The Beatles. Carey joins the judges’ panel when AMERICAN IDOL returns in January 2013 on FOX.


“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,” said Mariah Carey. “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. “Mariah defines the word 'Idol' and will inspire every singer that has the honor of performing in front of her.”


“Mariah Carey is a global icon whose list of musical accomplishments is unprecedented,” said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia. “Having sold more than 200 million records worldwide, she’s a true artist, ideally suited to identify and nurture AMERICAN IDOL’s next great music superstars. We warmly welcome her to the IDOL family.”


“Mariah Carey is the real deal. Not only is she one of the best-selling artists and performers on the planet and one of the world’s most gifted vocalists, she also is a successful songwriter, record producer and actress,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “She has a deep knowledge of music and a career insight that will make her a really amazing asset to our judges’ table and to our contestants. It’s the dream of almost everyone who auditions for IDOL to sing like Mariah and we couldn’t be happier to have her be part of the show.”


With a distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific songwriting and producing talent, Carey has defined the modern pop performance. As a singer/songwriter/producer, she has been recognized with five Grammy Awards, nine American Music Awards, Billboard’s Artist of the Decade Award, the World Music Award for World’s Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium and BMI’s Icon Award, to name a few. She has two consecutive and unparalleled Billboard Song of the Decade titles: “One Sweet Day” (with Boyz II Men); and “We Belong Together,” further marking her massive presence on the charts since her 1990 song debut “Vision of Love.” Mariah became the second artist in history and the first female performer to have a song debut at No. 1 with “Fantasy” (1995), the groundbreaking collaboration with O.D.B. of the innovative rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Carey’s original holiday classic, “All I Want For Christmas is You,” redefined its place in pop culture as one of the greatest holiday hits of all time when it reached



No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2011, 17 years after its debut. Carey’s influential and stellar contribution to the music industry spans multiple genres and is showcased through a multifaceted hit catalogue as well as a long list of diverse collaborations.


Carey's ongoing impact transcends the music industry and has left an indelible imprint upon the world at large. She recently made a substantial mark in film with her critically acclaimed role as a social worker in “Precious,” the 2009 film based on the novel “Push,” by Sapphire. A Congressional Award recipient, Carey has generously donated her time and energy to a range of domestic and international philanthropic causes near to her heart, including The Fresh Air Fund/Camp Mariah (a retreat where inner-city children explore career development), Save the Music Foundation and Make-a-Wish Foundation, among several others.


Carey is currently in the studio, writing, recording and executive-producing her next album for Island Def Jam Music Group, with the lead single “Triumphant.”


AMERICAN IDOL has been the No. 1 entertainment program among Total Viewers for the past nine consecutive seasons. To date, IDOL alums have produced 349 No. 1 Billboard hits and garnered nearly 250 million iTunes downloads. Last year, Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery released his debut album “Clear As Day,” which dominated the Billboard Country Albums chart and has gone platinum, selling more than one million copies. Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips’ first single, “Home,” which was released May 23, has been certified gold.


AMERICAN IDOL is produced by 19 Entertainment, a division of CKX, Inc. and FremantleMedia North America, Inc.

Fox entertainment chief Kevein Reilly announced at the network's TCA session that Mariah Carey has officially signed on to judge the upcoming season of American Idol. Carey had been rumored to be a replacement for the departing Jennifer Lopez. We will post more details as they become available.

  • Marcos

    Now bring Leann Rimes to the panel judge too

  • DJB

    Yeah! Finally someone with the talent to be a judge on the show!!

  • Mike

    Aren’t the auditions already completed? Does that mean that Lopez and Tyler will still be on the show during that phase?

  • greg

    mariah hopes AI resurrects her career much like it did J.Lo. But i think she wont come across as down on earth like J Lo did but rather a woman that lives in her own world. We shall see though

  • rob60990

    And apparently she will be making more than Jennifer Lopez. So much for cutting the budget…

  • Aaron

    Now bring Charlie Sheen to the panel and I’ll start watching again.

  • MJDB


    You’re confusing two shows, The X Factor finished auditions, while American Idol didn’t start yet.

  • Lukas

    Good choice!! Can’t wait American Idol 12!

  • Mike


    Not confusing the shows. The Idol website says auditions started on June 7 in L.A. and ended in Oklahoma City on July 20.

  • A

    After Britney Spears went to be judge, everyone is following her lead. What is this lmao

  • EatMorePez


    Those are the initial auditions in front of producers that don’t get recorded or shown on TV. The TV auditions are the next step.

  • Chmarin

    @Mike, the auditions are over. Just not the televised auditions. You don’t actually think the reality show judges actually listen to the thousands of people who show up to audition? They edit the shows to make it seem like they do. The first part of the auditions is over, where the hopefuls sing in front of the producers. Once the new judging panel is formed, they’ll have the other “auditions”. The ones where the few people who were called back get to perform for the judges. ;)

  • Mike

    @EatMorePez and @Chmarin

    Thanks for the clarification. I knew the judges didn’t see every contestant, but I mistakenly thought the producer phase and the judge phase happened concurrently instead of having people come back for multiple auditions.

  • Kat

    How about getting an actual judge rather than a name singer? Maybe Mariah can actually spot talent, don’t know. But there used to be producers on the panel, those whose job it was to spotlight and nuture talent. Just because a person has been on the performing end of the business for years doesn’t make then a talent scout.

  • Anthony

    get ellen back lmao!

  • Julie

    Well. On the one hand she’s a legitimate talent and this is a definite coup for Idol. It might also stop all the female contestants from performing/butchering endless Mariah songs, so that’s a positive.

    On the other hand, she’s got a bit of a diva reputation (and as someone already commented, definitely in her own little world), they’re no doubt paying her zillions, and I would be very surprised if she’s contracted for longer than 1 season. So this time next year the producers could well be right back at square one.

    Gonna be interesting, especially once they announce who will replace Steven Tyler.

  • Julie

    Oh and it will also stop Randy from endlessly name-dropping her….that might be reason enough to like this news!

  • Connman

    @Aaron – The addition of Charlie Sheen would do nothing to improve the show – especially for the contestants. Adding Mariah seems like a good move – both for the show and for the contestants.

  • Kaylie

    Yessss!! Mariah has an amazing and more astounding career than J.Lo and Christina Aguilera. The Voice producers and Britney Spears may have screw faces.

  • AustinGriffith

    Well, I haven’t been watching the last couple of years and I guess that I still won’t be watching…
    Mariah Carey won’t make this show any better.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures