Mariah Carey, one of the world's best-selling artists, is joining the judges panel of 'American Idol'.  The singer confirmed the news today via her website, MariahCarey.com.

 

Carey fills one of the two empty judges chairs recently vacated by Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.  Mariah now joins Randy Jackson, her longtime producer and musical director.

Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly shared the excited addition during a Television Critics Association summer tour stop today in Beverly Hills.  He Reilly tells People.com:

"It's an artist that many contestants have tried to emulate, have tried to have sung the songs, have tried to hit the notes and because it really was concluded only hours ago, our judge couldn't be with us."

It was just days ago that Mariah's husband Nick Cannon said it would take an astronomical amount of money from FOX to pull his wife away from her busy duties as a recording artist and new mom.  That sum turned out to be just $18 million for one season.  So why the change of heart?  Mariah says:

"You know this all kind of just happened real quickly, so I can't wait to get started in a couple months."

'American Idol' returns in January 2013 on FOX.