Mariah Carey just became the HIGHEST PAID JUDGE in reality television … because her one-year deal with “American Idol” is worth close to $18 MILLION … this according to sources connected to “Idol.”

Carey’s deal dwarfs the contract Jennifer Lopez signed when she joined the judge’s table — J.Lo only scored a measly $12 mil for her first year on the show.

Carey also blows past Britney Spears … who’s making $15 million on “X Factor.”

Somewhere … Nick Cannon is smiling.

Mariah has since tweeted about joining the show … saying, “It’s gonna be so much fun working on American Idol. As a singer-songwriter, I’m excited to help find and nurture new talent. LYM! – MC”


via: tmz