BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Mariah Carey will be joining the cast of "American Idol."
She told a meeting of the Television Critics Association that she is excited to join as a judge and it all happened quickly.
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.
"American Idol" also plans stops in some smaller cities in search of singing talent for its 12th season.
The FOX television show's website says the new "Small Town Audition Bus Tour" is scheduled to make stops in Idaho Falls, Idaho; Billings, Mont.; and Casper, Wyo., as part of a 10-city tour that starts next month.
The dates, times and locations are to be announced.
Small town auditions also are scheduled in Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.
The show also is taking nominations for people who may not think of trying out, and it's accepting online video submissions for two weeks, starting Aug. 1.