Mariah Carey seen carrying a toy sheep and greeting waiting fans while leaving the Dorchester Hotel in London. (June 25, 2012)

*Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly started his TCA session in Beverly Hills this morning with news that Mariah Carey will indeed be joining “American Idol” for its upcoming season, completing a deal that is rumored to be worth $12 to $15 million per year.


And then he put her on speakerphone.

“Hi everyone, I am so excited to be joining ‘Idol,’” Carey told TCA members through Reilly’s cell as staffers from Fox applauded in the back of the room. “I wanted to be there today, but I think you know this all kind of just happened, quickly. I wish I could’ve been there myself to tell you.

“I can’t wait to get started in a couple of months.”

Reilly wouldn’t confirm who would be replacing former judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. Whoever is chosen will join Carey and “American Idol” producers in person for the next TCA press tour to take place in January.

In the meantime, Reilly said Carey “is the biggest recording artist any of these shows have ever had,” and “an artist that many contestants have tried to emulate.”

Listen to Mariah’s entire phone call and more ‘Idol’ talk from Kevin Reilly below.