Oh thank god, our long national nightmare of finding the first American Idol judge replacement is over. After weeks of heated rumors, singer Mariah Carey has finally confirmed she'll be joining Fox's singing competition at the judges' table. Whew! I don't know about you, but I couldn't SLEEP without knowing what uninteresting star would be overpaid to fill the designated "weepy pop diva" role at a show I stopped watching years ago.
Speaking of overpaid, guess what kind of salary Carey is getting for her first season. No, go ahead, GUESS.
According to at least one source, Carey will be taking home $18 million for one year, with an option to renew. Eighteen. MILLION. Oh hey, I think I just hit one of those famous Mariah Carey high notes in protest over the increasingly demented trend of overcompensating reality show celebrity judges! SORRY, NEIGHBORHOOD DOGS.
I guess the good news here is that Carey is a bona fide vocalist, as opposed to being all about image. Idol clearly rewards the full package, but it is -- or at least it's supposed to be -- a singing competition. J.Lo and Paula Abdul had a lot to offer in terms of stage presence and … uh, appearing to be heavily sedated at times, but Carey at least has the vocal chops to go along with her glitzy appeal.
It may be that Carey's presence will lend a feeling of authenticity that's been missing from Idol in recent years. After all, how seriously can you take a someone like Jennifer Lopez when she attempts to criticize a performer's singing abilities? Not to mention that utterly bizarre, shark-jumping season where they trotted out Ellen DeGeneres as a judge.
Still, even considering Carey's impressive resume and much-loved ability to sound like a train whistle, I'm kind of flabbergasted over what's happening with reality judge salaries lately. If the rumors are true about Carey's $18 million dollar paycheck, she's probably the highest-paid judge on any competition -- but not by much. J.Lo reportedly got $12 million for her stint at Idol, Britney got $15 million for X Factor, and Howard Stern got $15 million for America's Got Talent.
With those kinds of expenses, it's no wonder product placement has gotten so blatant on these shows. I'm sure Mariah Carey will be enjoying plenty of nice, refreshing Coca-Colas during her season on Idol, while jetting around in her Ford and placing calls through AT&T. The question is, can she actually make the show watchable again, and put a halt to their ratings nosedive? Fox is clearly betting $18 million that the answer's yes -- but personally, I think Idol should have called it quits years ago.
What's your reaction to the news that Mariah Carey will be a judge on American Idol? Do you think she's worth the $18 mil?
Image via Mariah Carey