Mariah Carey replaces Jennifer Lopez as a judge on American Idol

Mariah Carey replaces Jennifer Lopez as a judge on <i>American Idol</i>
We belong together: Mimi for Idol.
Image: Getty

It's official: Mariah Carey will join the judging panel on American Idol season twelve, after Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler left the high-rating talent show last week.

The 42-year-old über-diva is expected to take a whopping $18 million, according to a show insider.

"Mariah is getting paid $18 million with a one-year option to do Idol, making her the highest paid judge on any music competition show," the American Idol insider told Us Weekly.

That's $6 million more than J.Lo got in her first year, and $3 million more than her second-year rate.

"I am so excited to be joining Idol," she said at an LA press conference. "I can't wait to get started."

"It's the biggest recording artist than any of these shows have ever had," Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly announced.

"It's an artist many of these contestants have tried to emulate, tried to hit the songs, hit the notes. [The deal] only concluded only hours ago. Not being the only game in town we need to keep things fresh."

No doubt he's referring to The X Factor USA's appointment of Britney Spears on the judging panel for a reported $16 million. Britney versus Mariah: Is there really any competition?

It's definitely game on for the high-selling pop icons — check out Mariah's hilariously "whatever" response to Britney scoring X Factor recently:

Not everyone's happy with Mariah being an Idol judge. When she appeared on the show in 2008 as a guest mentor, she was "a nightmare to work with", sources from the show told TMZ.

She was late to her shoot, overly picky, and generally "not very nice at all", the sources revealed. Those same sources added that J.Lo was a pleasure to work with "night and day" compared to Mariah. Ouch!

The replacement for Steven Tyler is yet to be announced. Randy Jackson will remain on the show.

Will Mariah be a Fantasy or a Heartbreaker on Idol?

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