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Fox fills one Idol judge vacancy with Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey in picture from her official website.

Season 12 of Fox's wobbling American Idol got some juice Monday when the network announced the long-rumored hiring of Mariah Carey to fill one of two vacant judge posts.

Carey did not meet with TV critics during Fox's day at the ongoing network "press tour" in Beverly Hills. But she did position herself as "so excited" during brief comments over a speaker phone.

Idol was hit earlier this month with the departures of both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez after each spent two seasons with the show.

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

Carey, in her official statement, noted that she's currently working on her new album and its first single, "Triumphant," due next month. "I can't wait to channel my creative energy as a part of this show, which is a massive global phenomenon."

Idol will return as usual in January after losing 25 percent of its audience in Season 11. At least one more new judge, and some format changes, also are coming.