We guess they can afford it! Mariah Carey is reportedly finalizing a deal to become a judge on American Idol, despite hubby Nick Cannon's assertion earlier this week  that the show might not be able to "afford" his wife. Mariah will, of course, be filling one of the spots vacated by Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.

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Deadline reports that the powerhouse vocalist is working out a deal for more than $17 million, beating out Britney SpearsX Factor paycheck. There was talk that Mariah was going to judge the fledgling competition show back in 2010 also, but a deal never came to light.

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American Idol producers know they need to step it up for next season in order to run with The X Factor and The Voice, and technically, it would be difficult to get a voice bigger than Mariah's; we think she is a great choice for a judge. We know one person who will definitely be happy — Idol vet Pia Toscano, who told E! News back in May she thought Mariah would be a perfect judge.

Would you watch AI for Mariah?

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