On Monday, FOX announced that Mariah Carey has joined the American Idol judging panel for the show’s upcoming 12th season.
By goin’ in for the seat vacated by Jennifer Lopez’s ample posterior, Carey raises the reality TV stakes. Not only because the five-octave chanteuse is poised to rake in a reported $18 million payday, thus making her the highest-paid judge on a reality show, but because divas-in-residence don’t come much more mega. The Voice can claim Christina Aguilera and The X Factor might boast Britney Spears, but the American Idol marquee will tout the mighty Mariah. Whatever your opinion of Carey (see her legendary HSN appearances), she’s on another level.
“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,’” Carey said in a statement. “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.”
As that me-first statement portends, it will be interesting to see if Carey’s outsized personality subsumes the contestants vying to be the next American Idol. But that, of course, is the true genius of having her on board. While I’ve continued to watch Idol lo these many years — out of habit more than any real emotional investment in the show’s outcome — I imagine Carey will draw in lapsed viewers who want to see the interplay. Whether they’ll stick around after sampling is the typical television gamble.
For the moment, it’s a reality television dream realized. And with that admittedly weak segue, it was on this very day in 1993 that Carey released “Dreamlover.” The lead single from her third studio album, Music Box, became her seventh #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and biggest hit to date, spending an amazing eight weeks on top.
I’ve always preferred Uptempo Mariah over Balladeer Mariah, and the carefree “Dreamlover,” co-written and co-produced by a post-Mary J. Blige What’s The 411?, pre-Madonna Bedtime Stories Dave “Jam” Hall, is one of my favorites from the former category. In fact, it’s so nice, I bought “Dreamlover” twice (see the black-and-white text-only cover art from the alternate version).