Mariah Carey (Photo : Flickr)
Fox has confirmed that Mariah Carey is to join the judging panel of "American Idol" as the show goes into its twelfth season.
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She will join Randy Jackson, who has been a judge since the first season. The show, which debuted in 2002, has had three judges throughout most of its run. A third judge has yet to be announced.
For the first seven seasons, the ratings behemoth was hosted by Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and series creator Simon Cowell. There has been a turnover of judges in recent years, with Kara DioGuardi joining as a fourth judge in the eighth season, which turned out to be Abdul's last. Ellen DeGeneres came aboard for season nine, but left after just one season. Simon Cowell also left, and Lopez and Tyler have been on the panel for the last two seasons.
Though consistently high in ratings, the show has seen its audience dip in recent seasons. Part of this may be that the show lost some of its edge when the acerbic Cowell departed. Much of the show's early winning formula derived from the spectacle of nervous singing hopefuls of varying talent subjecting themselves to Cowell's cool, swift professional judgment and take-no-prisoners wit.
"You actually sing like a train going off the rails," he once said to a hopeful. "You sort of start off in tune, then it just goes completely off, and very, very fast."
"For me, you are just a good singer, but forgettable," he matter-of-factly told another.
And to yet another, he said, "If ever we do 'American Idol' as an ice-dancing musical, you would be perfect."
Audiences had strong feelings about Cowell's method (tribute videos abound on Youtube), and when he went, he left his caustic shoes unfilled.
Whatever strengths she brings to the show, Cowell hinted today that Carey won't be able to bring what he did.
"I think she's going to find it difficult to say 'no'," Entertainment Weekly quoted him as saying. "She's sweet."
Now that's harsh.