Jennifer Lopez has reportedly signed a massive deal to return to American Idol.
According to the Daily Mail,Lopez was paid $17.5 million to come back to the show. The 44-year-old judged the competition for two seasons in 2011 and 2012.
“There was a lot of back and forth negotiating on her salary, but now it’s finally been settled that Jennifer will earn $17.5m to go back to Idol next season,” sources said.
“It’s a major coup for her to land a huge payday like that and I believe she is thrilled with that number. It’s a lot more than the $15m Britney Spears was paid to do The X Factor.”
Jennifer Lopez’s payday is half a million dollars less than what Mariah Carey was paid to judge last season. Carey’s $18 million deal made her the highest paid judge on any singing competition. Former manager and judge Randy Jackson was instrumental in helping Carey land the record-setting sum.
According to Hollywood Life, American Idol is waiting to find a third judge before confirming the signing.
“They still have to wait to lock down the third judge and then the announcement will be made,” a source told the website. “They have to start taping in the next two weeks so it’s imminent.”
Producer Dr. Luke was initially reported to fill the third spot, but ran into a conflict of interest. Dr. Luke is signed to Sony Music, but the label’s competitor, Universal Music Group, holds the exclusive rights to Idol‘s recordings. Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid ran into a similar problem when he was in the running to join in season 10. Epic is a division of Sony Music, so Reid signed with The X Factor instead, which has a recording partnership with Sony.
Thursday, it was reported that Harry Connick Jr. would be joining the judge’s panel. His name has popped up in the past, and he’s served as a mentor on the competition several times.
So far, the only judge officially signed on for the competition is Keith Urban. Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly confirmed that Urban, who joined the show last season, was returning earlier this month.