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Mariah Carey joins ‘American Idol’ as judge, reportedly earning less than Jennifer Lopez did

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Mariah Carey. (WireImage)

"American Idol" has just replaced one pop diva with another. It was announced on Monday that Mariah Carey will be a judge on the singing competition next season, just one week after both Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler quit. "I am so excited to be joining 'Idol,'" said the "We Belong Together" singer in a surprise phone call during the Television Critics Association presentation in Beverly Hills. "I can't wait to get started in a couple months." In a statement, the five-time Grammy winner added, "I'm currently in the studio working on my new album and its first single, 'Triumphant,' which will be out early next month. I can't wait to channel my creative energy as a part of this show which is a massive global phenomenon."

According to reports, Carey, 42, will be paid between $17 and $18 million for the job, which is less than the $20 million Lopez reportedly made for her second season on the show (she earned $12 million for her first season). The singer-actress wanted a $2 million raise to return for a third and when that didn't happen, she quit, although she has denied that claim. Carey, who is co-managed by "Idol" judge Randy Jackson, is pulling in slightly more than Britney Spears, who gets $15 million to be on "The X Factor," which will debut with her sitting at the judges' table this fall.

Carey replacing Lopez on "Idol" is especially interesting considering the two women reportedly have a long-standing feud, although the reason is unclear. When asked a few years ago what she thought of Lopez, Carey shot back, "I don't know her." Last year, she told a reporter she would "rather be onstage with a pig" than ever duet with Lopez. And after Carey's name came up as a possible replacement for Lopez, her husband Nick Cannon shot down the report saying, "I don't know if they can afford Mariah Carey … If they gave J.Lo $20 million, they might have to double that!"

While fans of Carey are rejoicing their favorite singer has joined "Idol," those on the show aren't as excited to be working under the diva. Sources tell TMZ that she was a "nightmare to work with" when she appeared on the show in 2008 to act as a mentor to the singers on Season 7. Not only was Carey "not very nice at all" during her time on the show, but she was "ridiculously nitpicky about tiny details."

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