American Idol

Mariah Carey Will Make $18 Million on American Idol

07/24/2012 at 09:30 AM EDT

American Idol: Mariah Carey Will Make $18 Million as Judge
Mariah Carey
Jason Merritt/Getty
The newest face at the judges' table is taking home the biggest paycheck.

Mariah Carey, who has officially signed on to join American Idol, will reportedly earn about $18 million for the season.

"Her deal is rumored to be just under $18 million for one year with an option to renew," a source familiar with the negotiation tells PEOPLE.

Carey, 43, will reportedly be the highest paid judge on any reality show.





With Lopez – whose exit had nothing to do with dollar signs, said a source – Steven Tyler and potentially Randy Jackson out of the mix, Carey's panel companions (and their pay rates) have yet to be confirmed.

"It's gonna be so much fun working on @AmericanIdol," Carey Tweeted Monday when her new gig was made official. "As a singer-songwriter, I'm excited to help find and nurture new talent."

And Carey isn't the only one who pulls in serious pay on reality TV. According to reports, Christina Aguilera will make about $10 million on the third season of The Voice. Howard Stern's turn as a judge on America's Got Talent came with a $15 million paycheck.

Money aside, Carey is "totally elated," adds the source. "She's in the studio, and she's getting ready to record the video for her new single, "Triumphant" – certainly an appropriate title, and it was written before the deal."



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