SINGER Mariah Carey has become the highest paid reality show judge after she signed a one-year deal worth about US$18 million with American Idol.The 42-year-old surpassed ex-judge Jennifer Lopez’s fees of US$12 million for her first year of the show.
Carey also left singer Britney Spears behind with her making US$15 million in reality show X-Factor.
Expressing her excitement about working on the American singing reality show, she wrote on Twitter.
“It’s gonna be so much fun working on American Idol. As a singer-songwriter, I’m excited to help, find and nurture new talent,” she wrote.
American Idol is increasingly under pressure in the ratings from rival shows like Simon Cowell’s X Factor USA and The Voice.
Last season’s finale was the least watched in its history and the show is seeing its young adult audience shrink.
Several former winners have also failed to find success.
“Not being the only game in town now, we need to keep things fresh,” said Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly.
No announcement has been made on a third judge.
Reilly 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.”
Ryan Seacrest will be back as the show’s host.
Previous judges include Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres.
Former head judge Simon Cowell was asked about Mariah Carey joining American Idol.
“I’m happy for her, actually,” he said. “I like Mariah. I think she’s going to find it difficult to say no. I think she’ll be great.”