'American Idol': Mariah Carey announced as newest judgeAdd to Favorites | American Idol
"We do in fact have one judge whose deal closed very, very recently. I think it's the biggest recording artist that any of these shows have ever had," says Reilly. "It's an artist that many contestants have tried to emulate, have tried to have sung the songs, have tried to have hit the notes and because it really was concluded only hours ago, our new judge cannot be with us."
Reilly then called Mariah Carey on the phone, who said hello to all the TCA members.
"I am so excited to be joining 'Idol,' I wanted to be there today and I wish I could've been there myself to tell you. But I think you know this all kind of just happened really quickly," says Carey. "Everybody have a great TCA and I will see you in January."
Carey also adds via a press release, "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.' ... I can't wait to channel my creative energy as a part of this show which is a massive global phenomenon."
While Reilly cannot confirm any other judges, even judge Randy Jackson's return, he does say that Jackson helped cement the Mariah Carey signing, as the two have worked together for years in the recording studio.
"Randy was very instrumental in doing this deal," says Reilly.
UPDATE: In case you're curious about her payday, TMZ is claiming "Idol" sources say Mariah's one-year deal on the show is nabbing her $18 million, which leaves Britney's "X Factor" deal at $15 million and J.Lo's first-year $12 million "Idol" deal in the dust.