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Mariah Carey to Guest Judge 'American Idol'

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Mariah CareyAP

Mariah to Guest Judge 'American Idol' | Vote for John Adams | Neverland Update

Mariah to Guest Judge 'American Idol'

Mariah Carey is coming to "American Idol." The best-selling female pop star of the last two decades will show those kids how it’s done, no doubt, and maybe even comment on some of that singing (although, to this ear, Amanda Overmyer already knows what to do).

Mariah’s “AI” appearance is part two of her well-constructed campaign to promote her new CD, “E=MC2,” which hits stores on April 15. Mariah will appear on "AI" on April 16.

Remember? I gave you a preview of the CD a few weeks ago. On “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend, Carey — a quick substitute for the flu-stricken Janet Jackson — performed her current single, “Touch My Body,” and her next one, “Migrate,” featuring T Pain, with aplomb. The album is loaded with possibilities for singles, so two before the album’s release date is no prob.

I visited with Mariah backstage after “SNL” Saturday night, and here are some tidbits I picked up. For one thing, as you could see on the show, she looks amazing. She told us she’s lost 20 pounds after a rigorous diet and exercise plan. Saturday night, she cheated a little bit on the limo ride up to NBC, though.

“Don’t tell anyone, but I had two bits of a piece of Sicilian pizza. I had to have sustenance!” she said. Her trainer, I hope, will forgive her.

In addition to “American Idol,” Mariah is back in Los Angeles this week to finish the all important song sequencing of “E=MC2” and to polish up one or two tracks that are almost, but not quite finished.

“There are three songs you didn’t hear, I think,” Carey said of my early listening session. “You’re going to love one of them especially. It’s very old-school R&B.”

So who else was backstage at "SNL"? Well, there was her manager, Benny Medina, and film director/producer Lee Daniels, who directed Mariah in the upcoming film, “Tennessee,” which debuts at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 26.

Ironically, Carey got that role, too, when Jackson dropped out. Strange, huh? Just like Saturday night. Daniels is so psyched about Mariah’s performance that he wrote a cameo for her in the film he’s shooting now called “Push,” which features rocker Lenny Kravitz in his acting debut.

Also backstage or roaming around “SNL” Saturday night: Dustin Hoffman brought his whole family, wife Lisa, kids, their friends, etc. He did admit, however, when the show was over at 1 a.m.: “I can’t stay up this late anymore!” …

For reasons unknown, “Sideways” director Alexander Payne seemed to be embedded with the broadcast. …

Young actor Justin Long, best known for the Mac vs. PC commercials and for dating Drew Barrymore, came and sat up in the audience to watch his pal, Jonah Hill, host the show. He got a kick out of it. The audience, however seemed perplexed by Hill’s presence. He’s not up to the par of the regular show performers, that’s for sure. …

Believe it or not, the real Don Pardo is still announcing “SNL” after 33 years. He’s 90 years old! He was born on Feb. 22, 1918! And yet, there he was, God love him, doing the pre-intros at 11:15 p.m.

Yes, he pronounced Mariah’s name as "Maria," but it might have been a joke. According to Wikipedia, he flies in every week from Arizona. Did you know it was his voice on NBC that announced that JFK had been shot in 1963?. ...

Anyway, “SNL” is featured this week in “Entertainment Weekly” for its last three shows being so politically directed. But Saturday night was a disappointment. New York and the media in general are abuzz with Eliot Spitzer and his alleged hooker, but the show really took a tepid approach.

Where was the sketch of Eliot and Ashley in their hotel room, of Silda discovering $80,000 missing from their joint accounts, any of it? Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers tried to chime in during “Weekend Update,” but they came off as unusually strident. …

Also spotted: filmmaking brothers Charlie and Willie Ebersole, sons of NBC’s Dick Ebersole and actress Susan Saint James. …

One thing you can say about executive producer Lorne Michaels, who’s maybe the smartest guy at NBC — he doesn’t show political favor. That sketch with Darrell Hammond playing John McCain was painful — “McCain discovered to be old,” etc. Michaels has been a longtime McCain supporter.

Vote for John Adams

I was a little shocked by Alessandra Stanley’s off-the-mark review in the New York Times of Paul Giamatti’s tremendous performance as John Adams in the new HBO series.

Her review, in fact, showed little knowledge of David McCullough’s book. She hadn’t even seemed to have watched the first four parts of the remarkable HBO series that were made available to critics.

I know Stanley has few fans and is oft-corrected in the Times, but this was too much. As anyone who watched it knows, Giamatti is just wonderful as the staid, stoic, almost prissy Adams as he tries to invent the United States, deal with decadent Benjamin Franklin (another great performance by Tom Wilkinson), keep his marriage to Abigail together (Laura Linney, amazingly perfect) and learn to deal with the Dutch and the French.

There’s a great scene in either Part 3 or 4 when Adams, Abigail and Franklin, all of whom are in Paris, are joined for lunch by Thomas Jefferson (Stephen Dillane, again, spot-on casting). It’s a scene central to the detail of “John Adams” and kind of moving to be able to see this very convincing re-creation from a moment in our collective imagination of American history. Don’t miss it.

Neverland Update

If you missed this confusing saga on Friday: There is no deal for Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

A new auction date has been set for May 14 in Santa Barbara, Calif., at which time someone from Financial Title Security will stand on the courthouse steps and accept offers from bidders who will undoubtedly include Jason Castero, whose investment group has $46 million in escrow now, and anyone else who wants to buy the place.

See Friday's FOX411 for all the info, plus the official posting of the postponed auction.