Mariah Carey is the new 'American Idol' judge - KPTV - FOX 12

Mariah Carey is the new 'American Idol' judge

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Mariah Carey is joining the cast of "American Idol."

The singer will be part of the judging panel when the show returns in January 2013 on Fox.

"We are proud to have one of the world's greatest-ever female singers join our show," said "American Idol" creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. "Mariah defines the word 'Idol' and will inspire every singer that has the honor of performing in front of her."

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe earlier added uncertainty to the question of who will judge next season, saying there's a slender possibility that Jennifer Lopez might return.

His reasoning: Since she told "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest she was 99 percent sure she was leaving, that means there's a 1 percent chance she won't, Lythgoe said Monday.

He said he hoped that was the case, although he also said he thought the show should be freshened each season with new judges.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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