“It would be funny if I got the [answering] machine, wouldn’t it?” Reilly said as he fumbled around trying to make the call — and as reporters waited to see whether this was some lame gag.
“Hi, Mariah? How are you? It’s Kevin,” he said. “We do have the deal, don’t we?”
“Yes,” Carey shouted into the phone, which could only be heard by TV critics in the front rows of the Beverly Hilton hotel ballroom.
“I am so excited to be joining ‘Idol,’ Carey told all 200-plus TV critics attending the tour, via Reilly’s cellphone, after he put her on speaker phone and held his phone up to the microphone attached to his shirt front. Very Band-Aid and chewing gum.
Carey said she wished that she could have been with them, but “this kind of all just happened really quickly” — although it had been reported for the past couple of weeks that she was in negotiations to replace J-Lo for a reported salary of nearly $18 million a year.
Carey, Reilly gloated, is “the biggest recording artist that any of these shows has ever had.” (In its announcement, Fox noted that Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, has more No. 1 songs than any solo artist in history and has 18 Billboard No. 1 singles (17 of which Carey wrote), behind only the Beatles.)
Carey, in effect, replaces J-Lo.
“I heard Nigel say that 99 percent thing” regarding J-Lo, Reilly said of “Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe — who, just moments earlier at the tour, said that J-Lo was “99 percent” certain she was leaving the singing competition.
“I think I can say it’s 100 percent Jennifer won’t be back to the show,” Reilly grinned.
“I can’t confirm and don’t want to talk about anyone” else on the show, Reilly said on stage, anticipating questions about third judge Randy Jackson, or a replacement for departing judge Steven Tyler.
On the other hand, Reilly did say that Jackson, the show’s only surviving original judge, “has been working with Mariah, and is in fact her co-manager and . . . was very instrumental in doing this deal.”
Translation: Randy’s safe.
Nice work, Randy!
After the most recent season of “Idol” wrapped in May — with its least-watched season finale ever — various Fox and parent-company suits said they had been too complacent about the important franchise and that major changes were in store.
Despite the decline in ratings, “Idol” wound up the season as the country’s most watched show after NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
Since then, Tyler announced that he’s “decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress ‘American Idol’ before she boils my rabbit,” and J-Lo did, too — or words to that effect — no matter what Lythgoe tells you.