It's official - Mariah Carey is joining "American Idol" as a judge, following the departure of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.
The announcement was made on Monday, July 23, by FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly at a Television Critics Association panel in Beverly Hills, California following weeks of negotiations with the Grammy-winning singer, who is one of the most successful music artists in the world.
"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,'" Carey said in a statement provided by FOX. "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 "American 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.
Reilly also confirmed that Lopez is leaving the show, echoing comments made by her spokesperson earlier this month, according to "The Hollywood Reporter. As of Monday afternoon, it is still unclear who else will join the judges panel on "American Idol." Several celebrities' names have been floated in recent online reports, such as show alum Adam Lambert, but none have been confirmed.
It was reported in recent days that Carey, 42, was close to finalizing a deal to join the singing competition series for its 12th season, which is set to begin in early 2013. According to Deadline and other outlets, she was commanding a salary of more than $17 million, which would set a record for talent on the show.
Lopez's spokesperson announced the singer and actress' departure from "American Idol" on July 13 and Tyler announced his exit on July 12 via a statement from FOX. He said he wanted to focus on his work with his band Aerosmith.
The pair's exit marked the second major casting shakeup seen since the show's debut 10 years ago and was made amid declining ratings. The season 11 finale of "American Idol" in Ma, marked the lowest-rated last episode for the series. It earned a 6.4 rating among adults aged 18 to 49 and was watched by about 21.4 million people.
Lopez and Tyler joined the series in 2010. They had served as co-judges alongside veteran cast member Randy Jackson for the past two seasons and had been cast after the departure of the show's most famous judge and co-creator, Simon Cowell, as well as Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres.
Randy Jackson has worked with Carey in the past. He produced and co-wrote several of her songs as well as played bass for the singer during her tours and in the studio.
According to the Deadline report, Carey was originally courted to become a judge on the second season of former "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell's fall singing contest series, "The X Factor," but the show tapped Britney Spears and Demi Lovato to join as judges instead.