Kevin Reilly, Fox President of Entertainment, seemed to be taunting the journalists in the audience at his TCA press tour panel. He promised that he was getting the latest addition to the judges table at “American Idol” onto the phone, noting that this person was a “megastar.”
“He’s kidding around, right?” whispered one journalist. Even Reilly’s struggle in getting his phone call through to this megastar seemed like it could be part of the joke.
But it wasn’t. Soon the very recognizable voice of Mariah Carey reverberated through the room. “I am so excited for the journey Idol,” she said. “I wanted to be there today, wish I could have been there myself to tell you. This happened real quickly, so I can’t wait to get started in a couple months! Have a great TCA and I will see you in January!”
It was a quick phone call, and Reilly promised that he didn’t want to get “too deep” into “American Idol” after it was concluded. “There’s really nothing else we can confirm,” he said.
But Reilly did go on to confirm a few things nevertheless. He said that the decision to add Carey to the judges was no surprise to the existing (and outgoing) judges. “We’ve been very transparent with our talent,” he said, noting that the possible exit of Jennifer Lopez and confirmed exit of Steven Tyler came from a “mutual decision.” As for Randy Jackson, he was not only on board with the deal; he was part of it. “We have so many moving parts, I don’t want to talk about Randy. He has worked with Mariah and he was very instrumental in doing this deal.”
As far as Lopez and Tyler’s exits, he said that “no one was slamming doors on anyone,” but did confirm that Lopez was definitely out. “I think Nigel [Lythgoe] said 99 percent; I can say it’s 100 percent that Jennifer won’t be back to the show.