updated 07/24/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/24/2012 AT 9:30 AM ET
The newest face at the judges’ table is taking home the biggest paycheck.
“Her deal is rumored to be just under $18 million for one year with an option to renew,” a source familiar with the negotiation tells PEOPLE.
Carey, 43, will reportedly be the highest paid judge on any reality show.
With Lopez – whose exit had nothing to do with dollar signs, said a source – Steven Tyler and potentially Randy Jackson out of the mix, Carey’s panel companions (and their pay rates) have yet to be confirmed.
“It’s gonna be so much fun working on @AmericanIdol,” Carey Tweeted Monday when her new gig was made official. “As a singer-songwriter, I’m excited to help find and nurture new talent.”
And Carey isn’t the only one who pulls in serious pay on reality TV. According to reports, Christina Aguilera will make about $10 million on the third season of The Voice. Howard Stern’s turn as a judge on America’s Got Talent came with a $15 million paycheck.
Money aside, Carey is “totally elated,” adds the source. “She’s in the studio, and she’s getting ready to record the video for her new single, “Triumphant” – certainly an appropriate title, and it was written before the deal.”