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Mariah Carey moves from fan to ‘American Idol’ judge

FILE - This May 26 2012 file phoshows U.S. Singer Mariah Carey performing stage during concert Mawazine Festival RabMorocco. Carey

FILE - This May 26, 2012 file photo shows U.S. Singer Mariah Carey performing on stage during a concert at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco. Carey will be honored as a BMI icon at the BMI Urban awards on Sept. 7, 2012 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar, file)

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Updated: August 25, 2012 6:07AM

LOS ANGELES — Drawn by the promise of a stable home life and a seat alongside Randy Jackson, her co-manager, Mariah Carey announced Monday she’ll join the judges’ table next season on “American Idol.”

Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly announced the new hire Monday at the semi-annual meeting of the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles. He told reporters a judge had signed on and then kept them in suspense while he dialed the pop star on his cell.

Carey, on speaker phone, said she’s excited to join Fox’s singing competition, adding, “I can’t wait to get started in a couple months.”

Jackson, a mainstay on the “Idol” judging panel since Day 1, has been pushing to bring on Carey ever since it was clear that Jennifer Lopez was considering leaving — and even more so once Steven Tyler also exited the “Idol” scene. “Randy was very instrumental in doing this deal,” Reilly said.

But Jackson himself is hardly a sure thing for season 12. “We have so many moving parts,” Reilly said. “I don’t want to talk about Randy or anyone on the bench.”

Carey is a huge fan of the show and has been what she calls “an ‘Idol’ addict” since Season 1.

“Mariah hardly misses an episode of ‘Idol,’ ” said a longtime Carey associate. “Even when she’s on the road, she makes sure it’s recorded so she can watch it later.”

At this point in her life, the superstar also is looking for what the source quoted her as saying would be “stability” — allowing her to stay home and focus on her twins and husband Nick Cannon. The “Idol” job reportedly will pay her between $12 million and $15 million a year.

Ironically, Carey’s hubby is the host of NBC’s rival competition, “America’s Got Talent,” but “since he’s the host, not a judge, that’s not considered a problem,” added the source.

Former “Idol” judge Simon Cowell, now at “The X Factor,” said he was happy for Carey. “I like Mariah,” he said. “I think she’s going to find it difficult to say no. She’s sweet.”

“Idol” remains popular but has seen a steady erosion in its ratings and a graying of its audience.

“Although we finished the season at the top once again, although the show is as vital as ever — Phillip Phillips went to gold faster than any artist in the history of the show — our ratings were down,” Reilly conceded.

“Not being the only game in town now, we need to keep things fresh,” he added. “We had a dialogue with everybody on the bench. We came to a mutual decision already with Jennifer and Steven. We both decided it was a time for a change.”

Reilly said other big names in music are lining up for a chance to join Carey on the panel, “so over the next couple of weeks it’s really a matter of just picking the right one that’s going to be the right chemistry, making a deal and finalizing this.”

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