Mariah Carey to Be American Idol Judge
The guessing game has been going on since last month - but American Idol has now announced a big-selling star as a new judge.
Fox entertainment's chief executive Kevin Reilly said he was "thrilled" to confirm reports that Carey would be joining the show when it airs in January.
The exit of Steve Tyler and Jennifer Lopez earlier this month left only original judge Randy Jackson and sparked speculation about potential replacements - with Carey at the top of the list.
As one of music's best-selling singers, it is hoped she will breathe new life into the American Idol series which has faced increasing competition.
The US version of The X Factor recently added Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as judges in a bid to keep the audience tuned in.
Mr Reilly said: "Not being the only game in town now, we need to keep things fresh."
The search is on for a third judge, and he promised another impressive pick. Reilly said that after 12 seasons "we need to have something to talk about".
He added: "We have the biggest names in the business, like Mariah Carey, interested in doing this... so for the next couple of weeks it will be a matter of picking the right one, with the right chemistry, making the deal, and finalising this."
The Grammy-winning pop star will receive just under $18m (£11.5m) for a one-year contract with a renewal option, according to sources.
It is yet to be confirmed whether or not Jackson will return to the show, but Mr Reilly said that he "has been working with Mariah and is in fact her co-manager - and Randy was very instrumental in doing this deal".
Simon Cowell , a former American Idol judge, said: "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 then added: "I think she'll be great."
American Idol ended the 2011-12 season as the leading entertainment show and number two overall, just behind NBC's top-rated Sunday Night Football.
But its finale was its least-watched so far and the young-adult audience has been steadily shrinking.
The show's status has not been helped by a run of winners who have failed to achieve the success of past competitors, such as Jennifer Hudson , Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson .
By Sky News, 24/07/2012