Mariah Carey will join American Idol as a judge next season, Fox announced, 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 Mariah, addressing the Television Critics Association via Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly's mobile phone, which he put on speaker-phone for the hotel ballroom meeting.
She could not be on hand with the group because "this kind of all just happened really quickly", Mariah said in her brief remarks. "I can't wait to get started in the fall (autumn) ... 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.
Mariah with her husband, Nick Cannon, host of his America's Got Talent on NBC.
Reilly called Mariah "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 placed a call to Mariah and put her on speaker. "Hi Mariah. How are you? It's Kevin," he said. "We do have the deal, don't we?" Mariah replied: "Yes!"
Reilly said he was "thrilled" to confirm reports that the singer was being courted by Fox and said the deal was freshly signed within the last few hours. The Grammy-winning pop star is receiving just shy of 18 million dollars (£11.6 million) a year for a one-year contract with a renewal option, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The exit of Tyler and J-Lo left original judge Randy Jackson and started a guessing game about potential replacements, with Mariah at the top of the list.
As one of music's best-selling singers, she could provide the clout American Idol needs to compete in an increasingly crowded talent show field. Besides Fox sibling The X Factor, which recently added Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as judges, there's NBC's The Voice, which boasts Christina Aguilera among its big names.
Simon Cowell, the former American Idol judge who adapted his UK hit The X Factor for Fox, was asked about Mariah's new gig at a critics' session. "I'm happy for her, actually. I like Mariah. I think she's going to find it difficult to say no. You've got to say no to people and she's sweet," he said, then quickly backtracked, adding, "No, I think she'll be great." Simon had reason to be diplomatic: Mariah's husband, Nick Cannon, is host of his America's Got Talent on NBC.
Mischievous (and, let us not forget, rather odd) pop star Robbie Williams' list of requirements reads like the world's most devilish treasure hunt. Kumquats (tiny oranges), a bonsai tree, four ashtrays, clean underwear... and a framed photo of Bob Holness (former host of cult quiz show Blockbusters). Seriously Robbie - couldn't you just bring your own? (Pic: Getty)
Plenty of people have a problem with 50 Cent, but the rapper insists on there literally being no beef whenever he plays a gig. "There is to be no beef (except where noted) or pork in the food or vicinity of 50 Cent's dressing or catering rooms", bellows his rider request list. He also asks for eggs "made to order", proving that he has high connections in the glamorous world of battery farming. (Pic: jpistudios.com)
Forget Van Halen's legendary M&M-related request - Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame has submitted the world's weirdest rock rider. At a show in Australia, he demanded a defibrillator and an ambulance, of all things, before warning lackeys not to enter his field of vision while he's performing. (Pic: Getty)
Given Britney's past misdemeanors, i.e. waving umbrellas around like a bald-headed nutter, you might expect the pop star's list of backstage demands to be fairly crazy. And guess what - you'd be right. It's not the two boxes of Pop Tarts, Froot Loops cereal, cable television, two 6-foot sofas and odor-free carpet we find unusual, it's the demand to have a private phone line installed in every room and her decision to fine her promoter $5,000 for any unauthorized calls she receives that strikes us as a little diva-ish. (Pic: BAUER-GRIFFIN/ROTEME.COUK)
Clearly there is an ideal temperature to keep your vocal chords and enormous mandible in full working order - as according to Celine Dion's rider her dressing room must be a precise 23°C. She also requests parking for 20 trailers, 10 buses and three stretch limousines. One assumes that she must carry all her fans on tour with her too. Getty
Still, all of these celebs are mere pretenders to Grace Jones's throne when it comes to spectacularly diva-ish behaviour. For example, she insisted on having a caviar facial on every night of her January tour. And at the MOBO awards she demanded to be driven right up to the stage instead of walking. Now that's how to do it. Gaga has a lot to learn. (Pic: WireImage)
"I'm still Jenny from the block", Jennifer Lopez once declared to a world of raised eyebrows. After all, people who are down-to-earth wouldn't insist on massive trailers, more white flowers than an Elton John party and having their coffee stirred counter-clockwise when at a charity single recording session. And she expects us to believe that her love don't cost a thing! AP
Devon-born drawler Joss Stone issued an 11-page list of must-haves prior to a performance at a festival near Liverpool in 2007. Not only did she request a dozen roses with their thorns removed and plenty of Miracle Whip, but it was pointed out that the starlet would only eat from china plates placed on a tablecloth. Meanwhile, the punters formed queues at Botulism Burger. (Pic: Getty)
What does the Donatella Versace of Pop have on her rider? Well, Lady Gaga requests plenty of cheese - but only if it's entirely odourless. This would indicate that she likes her dairy products to be entirely flavourless as well, but we guess that she's rarely been troubled by good taste. Besides, her cheesy music stinks quite enough. (Pic: Getty)
She may be Simon Cowell's most successful X Factor act ever, but does that really entitle Leona Lewis to dictate what everyone else should eat? According to reports from 2010, the Bleeding Love beauty is such a strict vegetarian that she forbid all her staff from eating meat when she was on tour - even if they brought their own food from 'outside'. We can image there were more than a few disgruntled roadies on that trip... (pic: bauergriffinonline.com)
In a bid to prevent her bony bum-prints turning up on eBay, Madonna is said to demand a brand new toilet seat at every concert she plays before having it smashed to bits after use. She also requires three candles to protect her from bad vibes, possibly from those who've forked out £120 to hear her eschewing classics like Holiday for her cover of American Pie. Bauer Griffin
Where to start when it comes to diva tales about our Mariah? The most memorable recent one was that she requested 20 white kittens and 100 white doves when she turned the Christmas lights on at Westfield - but was refused on health and safety grounds. (Pic: AP)
At first glance, rock star Marilyn Manson's list of back stage requirements could belong to any fairly fussy celeb. Air-conditioning? Of course. Haribo Gummi Bears? Why not. Absinthe, popcorn and Doritos? I'll pop to Sainsburys. But a bald prostitute with no teeth? We really feel sorry for the runner handed that one... (Pic: FilmMagic.com)
This may come as a shock, but apparently Michael Buble is a little precious about his personal grooming. Although for precious, you could just as easily read 'demented'. The crooner once asked for a ludicrous 84 dressing-room towels to be delivered. He also wanted his roast beef to come in a 'shrink-wrapped resealable pouch', presumably to nibble on later. Getty
Streets front man Mike Skinner has long been hailed as a man-of-the-people. But we're not sure how this tallies with his apparent demands for a vintage merry-go-round horse, a choice of pillows and music being played on his arrival at the Myhotel in Brighton. Sounds like a grand's worth of stuff does come for free... (Pic: WireImage)
The Beatles is definitely one of the more exact divas on our list. He demands 19 leafy six-foot plants, four leafy four-foot plants, vegetarian catering only and absolutely no animal by-products anywhere - including the furniture and carpets. Meanwhile, we wonder how much carbon monoxide is pumped into the atmosphere getting all this stuff delivered. Just sayin'... (Pic: Getty)
The secret to Prince's enduring youthful looks and songwriting prowess may well be contained on his request list. The legendary songwriter demands a physician be on hand at all times, particularly so he can be injected with vitamin B12 whenever he wants. Reportedly, another requirement is that all food "must be covered by clear plastic wrap". We have no idea what to read into that. (Pic: Getty)