While it's still a ratings giant, "American Idol" has been slowly losing a chunk of its audience as the franchise ages. Determined to get back the millions of viewers lost, Fox execs have hired music star Mariah Carey as a judge for Season 12. After the acerbic wit of Simon Cowell, and the kinder, gentler panel of the last two seasons, what can the "Triumphant" singer bring to the show?
Music cred: From the moment music lovers heard "Vision of Love" and Mariah's astounding range, including sounds only dogs can hear, a star was born. "American Idol" contestants have been attempting to tackle her pop and R&B classics for a decade, and are usually told by the judges that they can only dream of reaching her diva-esque heights. Having a judge on the show that doesn't require auto-tune or rose-colored nostalgia glasses to enjoy her performances definitely adds a refreshing air of credibility to the panel.
Street cred: The musical icon also has a wealth of life experience to back up her lauded vocals. After a sudden rush of fame at a young age, she's experienced many career ups and downs, including personal heartache. Even her movie appearances run the full spectrum, from the Razzie-winning "Glitter" to critical acclaim for her nearly unrecognizable role in "Precious." If there's any mentorship role for the new judge, she'll have plenty of life lessons to share with the aspiring singers.
Diva-crazy: Mariah just may be the perfect combination of previous judges Jennifer Lopez and Paula Abdul, combining the diva and the crazy all in one stiletto-teetering package. The gal known as Mimi to her friends is also known for her over-the-top demands on tour, including requiring certain floral arrangements and a ban on busy fabrics. Put that together with dreamy admissions like "I'm eternally 12" and "Butterflies are always following me, everywhere I go," and "American Idol" viewers could be in for a roller coaster ride of spotlight-hogging ego and doe-eyed wackiness.
Catfight!: Speaking of J-Lo, Mariah hasn't always had such kind words for her predecessor. Asked if she'd ever share the stage with the "On the Floor" singer, the new "American Idol" judge replied: "I'd rather be on stage with a pig. A duet with Jennifer Lopez and me just ain't gonna happen." If Lopez ever decides to perform on the show, fans can always hope for a spandex-and-glitter catfight between the two divas. Even if it doesn't come to that, it shows that the butterfly-loving singer won't be afraid to tell it like it is to the "AI" contestants.
Fashion fabulous: Heck with the critics. We love that the newest "American Idol" judge is still wearing "age-inappropriate" fashion like micro minis and sky-high heels. "I see it as playing dress-up, like Barbies," she explains. We'll see if she can top that gold sparkly mini-skort J-Lo once wore to break the bad news to eliminated contestants in the early rounds--we're guessing she can. And if Adam Lambert ends up being the new second judge, the "AI" judging table will be a bonanza of sparkle and dramatically applied eyeliner. Perfect for a reality TV show looking for the next pop star.
What do you think, "American Idol" fans? Will Mimi be a hit or miss in Season 12?
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