After weeks of rumors, Jennifer Lopez will officially leave American Idol and Mariah Carey will replace her as one of the three judges on the famed singing competition reality TV show. J-Lo says she will focus on her music and movie career, while Carey will reportedly make a cool $18 million annually as a judge on the show. Lisa DeMoraes of the TV Column writes:
Going for high drama, Reilly kicked off his Q&A session by dialing some phone number on his cellphone while blah, blah, blah-ing about the “artist that many of these [‘Idol’] contestants have tried to emulate, have tried some of the songs, have tried to hit the notes” — and whom the network had just signed in the past few hours.
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.)
J-Lo’s departure coincides with that of Steven Tyler, who is also leaving the show after two seasons as a judge. Lopez spoke with ‘Idol’ host Ryan Seacrest on his syndicated radio show about the decision to split. According to DeMoraes, Lopez launched into a winding, vague explanation in terms of her future with ‘Idol.’
But only after treating Seacrest and his listeners to a length recitation of how really, really hard it’s been for her, because she signed on for one season, but fell in love with the show and working with the Idolettes and so returned for a second season, but her kids are getting older, and the time commitment of “Idol” leaves her unable to do other things she’d like to do — like her movies (her movies?), and her music “and my this and my that.”
Carey beat out other superstars like Celine Dion and Mary J. Blige for the coveted job. The new judge could be the difference between the show stagnating in ratings or restaking a claim in primetime television, according to the Associated Press:
But Fox’s “American Idol,” trying to right itself after shedding viewers in its 11th season, may also need to play a numbers game — as in the age of the judges brought in to revitalize a show whose audience is getting smaller and older, neither a plus for advertisers.
“They need judges who will resonate with young people,” said media analyst Brad Adgate.
The makeover comes at a critical time. In May, “American Idol” posted its lowest-rated finale ever after a season that marked its poorest showing yet among young adult viewers age 18 to 49. A pattern of overall declining viewership continued for the show, which fell from the No. 1 spot for the first time since the 2005-06 season, placing second to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”
More on ‘American Idol’: