Jake Pavelka Opens Up About Dating Kristin Chenoweth

Jake Pavelka 'The Vow' Premiere Jake Pavelka 'The Vow' Premiere Jake Pavelka 'The Vow' Premiere Jake Pavelka 'The Vow' Premiere Jake Pavelka 'The Vow' Premiere Jake Pavelka 'The Vow' Premiere

Jake Pavelka is trying to do things differently this time around.

Since being romantically linked to Kristin Chenoweth, the former Bachelor star has managed to keep the relationship private.

“I’m not in a ‘high profile relationship,’” Pavelka said at Warner Bros. TV’s 25th Celebration at The Bachelor mansion in Agoura Hills, Calif. over the weekend.

“I had a very high profile relationship and it’s put some unnecessary strain on something that could potentially be really beautiful. It didn’t work out so well last time,” he added, referring to the failed courtship with season 14 Bachelor winner Vienna Girardi.

 

Without spilling too much, Pavelka, 34, did speak highly of his new ladylove — the two first met at the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards last October.

“Kristin and I have been spending time together. She’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”

Pavelka also dished on his version of a perfect date.

“Oh man, you know what? Sunday afternoon. Laying in bed all day, getting takeout, watching movies, not doing anything, cell phones off. That is my favorite.”

But don’t expect the Dallas native to join Chenoweth, 44, in a song anytime soon.

“I do everyone a favor and never sing. I don’t even sing in the shower.”

The current season of The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8PM on ABC.

Do you think Jake Pavelka and Kristin Chenoweth make a cute couple? Weigh in below.

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‘Revenge’ Star Nick Wechsler Explains What Could Drive ‘Stand Up Guy’ Jack to Murder

'Revenge': Jack in jail

Nick Wechsler has called his Revenge character, Jack Porter, “the most relatable guy in the world” and the “moral compass” of the show on more than one occasion. So, it certainly didn’t surprise him when Jack took the fall for the drugs stashed on his boat that the Hamptons PD thought belonged to baby brother Declan (Connor Paolo).

Though neither guy was actually guilty, pointing fingers at the Ryan brothers would be bad for the Porters– and a dear old family friend. And Jack is too good to throw people under the bus like that.

I would [tell the truth] just because I would not go to f**king jail for someone else’s bulls**t!” Wechsler told Celebuzzat ABC’s Television Critics Association Press Tour party in Pasadena, Calif.

“But, I think he’s such a stand-up guy that he doesn’t want to take Matt Duncan away from his kids. Ultimately, it would probably all come out. If he goes to jail because he confesses or Jack outs him, then it would ruin his life.”

Jack may have the best intentions, but if he keeps putting everyone else first and sacrificing himself, at a certain point not only does he cause more damage to his family, but he may also be considered kind of a sucker. After all, right now he’s sitting in a jail cell, and just because he’s never been in trouble before doesn’t mean it will be easy to beat a drug charge .

“Basically, Jack tries to get Matt to confess,” Wechsler said, noting that the heat would shift off the Porter family and that would allow them to help Matt.

Just like when Daniel (Josh Bowman) went to jail on Season 1, Jack’s time behind bars won’t be too long —  and it won’t nearly be as brutal. His brother and his fiance both visit him, and Wechsler admitted Jack in jail “gets resolved a little quickly.” Of course, it brings its own set of problems to follow for future episodes, though.

“He gets into another kind of trouble getting out. He’s out in time for a wedding, but he’s in other trouble!” Wechsler said.

So far Jack has always been able to keep his cool head — and moral compass — but Wechsler said that action might absolutely have to be taken against the Ryans. And yes, he thought Jack was able to carry out such a task — but getting ready and being willing is what has taken some time.

“I think he puts up with [the Ryans] for a while to try to keep the peace, but I feel like if anyone messed with his family too much — like if they really pushed it, he’d hurt them. It’s all been kind of manageably awful right now. He’ll only do it if it’s the only option,” Wechsler said.

“I think if they had Declan, and they were hurting him, and they mailed him Declan’s figure or something, I think it would be, ‘I’m going to try to get him out of that situation. But if I can’t some other way, I’ll kill the guy to get him back.’”

Revenge airs Sundays at 9PM on ABC.

Do you want to see a more ruthless side to Jack or are you happy with him being the show’s “nice guy”? Let us know in the comments below!

Danielle Turchiano

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Fact or Fiction? Has Robsten Gone ‘Fifty Shades of Grey;’ Is Lady Gaga Quitting Music? (VIDEO)

It’s that time of the week again, when the celebrity weeklies hit the newsstands. To separate what’s real and rumor, we turned to our friends at Gossip Cop for the 411 on this week’s most controversial stories.

Check out what we’ve learned about Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Lady Gaga and more of your favorite stars — after the jump.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s wild bedroom antics are enough to make a vampire blush,” reports Star, which notes the “duo love raunchy sex — sometimes as much as seven times a day!” The magazine adds that their “active sex life” includes “handcuffs, blindfolds and feathers.” For more about their wild “bedroom secrets,” click over to Gossip Cop.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are “buying a place together in Chicago… far from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood,” reveals In Touch. The magazine notes they “fell in love with the Windy City while visiting during Christmas.” To hear how enormous their new home is, and what special features it has, see what a Kunis pal leaks to Gossip Cop.

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Lady Gaga is quitting music and pursuing a movie career in a desperate attempt to “save her romance” with Taylor Kinney, reveals Star. The magazine says she’s “trading her grueling tour schedule for an acting career so she can build a more stable life” with her boyfriend. For when she plans to leave the music business, go to Gossip Cop.

Khloe Kardashian is “overcome with jealousy” that her sister Kim is having a baby while she’s still struggling to get pregnant, reveals In Touch. The magazine says Khloe’s “shattered” by Kim’s pregnancy because she “wants a baby so badly.” For the shocking way a “heartbroken” Khloe has been acting out, and how she’s secretly trashing Kim, go to Gossip Cop.

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Katie Holmes has been “ordered” by doctors to “put Suri down,” reports Star, which reveals physicians “warned” the actress, who was in a car accident, “that she’ll do real harm to her back if she keeps carrying around her nearly 7-year-old daughter.” For the even more surprising reason docs don’t want Holmes lifting Suri, go to Gossip Cop.

Candice Swanepoel Joins Hollywood’s Band of Beach Bums (PHOTO)

Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel tried to show off her newest present — a bikini — on Twitter, but all eyes were on something else.

On Wednesday, the 24-year-old snapped a photo of her new swimsuit bottoms for her personal Instagram — only to set the internet alight with her sexy curves.

Flaunting her beach bum in a teeny bikini, the blonde beauty wrote:

 

The leggy stunner, who recently graced the cover of Victoria’s Secret’s January 2013 swimwear catalog, told Celebuzz that she tries to balance her workouts in order to keep her rump in tip-top shape.

“I usually use heavier weights on my ankles or the weights that I’m using,” the South African model said. “But for me, I work out two days and then I need a rest day. Then I work another two days, then I rest again. So we’re kind of ready all year round — it’s just about fine-tuning it.”

Launch the gallery above to see more celebs who are self-professed beach bums!

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Mel Gibson Donates $1 Million to His Private Church (EXCLUSIVE)

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Mel Gibson has piled a further $1 million into his controversial church in Malibu, Calif., Celebuzz has exclusively learned.

A federal tax filing we’ve obtained reveals that the oft-troubled actor-director made the large lump sum donation last year to his 400-seat Holy Family Catholic Church, which is situated in the secluded hills on the scenic and quiet Mulholland Highway.

The private church now has $68 million in its tax free coffers — up from $27 million in 2006, according to the document.

Gibson, 57, donated $1,057,593 last year. He was the sole contributor to the church, though the donation he made in 2011 was significantly down on previous years.

Why?

In the now infamous recorded tapes released in 2010, Gibson confessed he’d fallen on hard times.

He ranted to his ex-lover, Oksana Grigorieva, that he didn’t have “any f**king money,” despite the millions he’d made in Hollywood.

“I have to support you and everybody else! I have to sell paintings. I have to sell my box at the Lakers game,” he was caught on tape saying.

The everybody else to which the Lethal Weapon star referred was likely his wife of 26 years, Robyn Moore, who officially divorced him on Dec. 23, 2011 after splitting years earlier.

Moore, the mother of seven of Gibson’s children, walked away with half of his estimated $800 million fortune because the pair had no prenup.

Still, Gibson’s church has proved to be a war chest of sorts.

Gibson is listed in federal tax records as the CEO of the church and it is run out of Gibson’s Icon Production company offices in the beachside suburb of Santa Monica.

He lists just three major expenses for 2011, totaling all up $273,218 — including almost $40,000 in legal fees.

One of the church’s major assets is listed as being $416,375 in artwork.

Gibson’s secretive sect is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church because it does not acknowledge the authority of the Pope or the Vatican.

The exclusive parish keeps its address a secret and its 17 acres are guarded by security personnel.

Launch the gallery above to see photos of Gibson’s secluded church, and watch the video below to see where else he donates money.

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Snooki: I’m a Victim of Cyber Bullying (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW)

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is no stranger to the bullying world.

As a high school student, the Jersey Shore star was frequently on the receiving end of nasty words.

“Me and my girlfriends, we were pretty girls — we were cheerleaders,” the reality television star told Celebuzz during an exclusive visit to our Hollywood, Calif. studio.

“The older girls didn’t like us and I feel like they thought were were competition so they would make up nasty rumors about us and even me and you know, they would make me feel like a very low person.”

And according to the 25-year-old, since skyrocketing to Jersey Shore fame, Twitter has served as another outlet for bullies, who have sent Snooki messages like “kill yourself,” “you’re fat” and “no one likes you.”

These days, the nasty messages are more like an afterthought.

“I feel like if you are bullied, just remember and just know that you are a good person. And that’s all that matters,” she said.

“People have opinions, yes, and that’s OK . . . some people are ignorant so you have to deal with that.”

For more of our exclusive chat with Snooki on bullying, check out the video, above. What kind of advice do you have for people who are bullied? Share below.

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11 Things to Expect on ‘American Idol’ Season 12

American Idol Season 12: Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Cast photo New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Nicki Minaj New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Keith Urban New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Mariah Carey New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Ryan Seacrest New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Randy Jackson

American Idol is ready to kick off a new season with new judges, new contestants, and new rules.

Host Ryan Seacrest was joined by veteran judge, Randy Jackson, and the three most recent additions to the Idol family, new judges Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, and Nicki Minaj, for a screening of the Season 12 premiere episode and a fan Q&A on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

It seems FOX may have struck an unlikely high note by placing a country crooner, a bona fide diva, and a larger-than-life rapper at the judges’ table. Aside from the new faces, there’s a new dynamic on the judging panel. Four votes instead of three will make tie breaking tricky, and two divas in one studio has proven to be, shall we say, a delicate situation.

With all the changes happening on the Idol front, some things, like an instigating Seacrest, remain the same.

Here are 11 things you can expect to see when Idol returns next Wednesday.

1. Randy is the new Simon. The veteran judge isn’t pulling any punches. He’ll say what he feels, even if it isn’t nice. “I feel like I’m at a bad auction and Kevin just tried to sell me a bad lawnmower I don’t want,” he said of a less than stellar contestant from Iowa.

2. Nicki is a friendly flirt. Who knew Miss Minaj was such a flirt? Expect to see her getting hot and bothered at the sight of the handsome, hunky male contestants. She’ll also show a softer side when it comes to rejection time, often going out of her way to console weepy rejects before sending them home. She told one especially bad contestant, ”You’re so special. Just not for this competition,” before kissing him on the cheek and making his day.

3. Mariah lives up to her diva rep. Expect to see Mimi a little perturbed when things don’t run smoothly. She admits the journey has been a learning experience and that she has always “worked for herself.” In other words, she doesn’t always play so well with others. But, she’s trying.

4. Inspirational contestants. Ashley Feliciano won the panel over with her story as much as her voice. The 20-year-old from Connecticut auditioned with the support of her heroic family, who adopts special needs children from foster care. Her rendition of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” had the judges seeing stars. Her story almost moved Nicki to tears, prompting her comment, “I’m so inspired by you and so many girls will be too.”

5. Tear-jerking moments. There are always a few sob stories on the Idol stage. But this year, Lazarus Arbos takes the cake. The 21-year-old Cuban immigrant from Naples, Fla. struggles to speak through a serious stutter, but finds his voice while singing. His turn at Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” blew the judges away and will likely melt hearts across the country.

6. William Hung, reloaded. Of course, not all auditions lead to Hollywood, but they’re so fun to watch! This year’s standout will certainly be 15-year-old James Bae of Long Island, N.Y. His try at Justin Bieber’s “One Less Lonely Girl” was equal parts horrific and hilarious. Still, the judges let him down easy with Mariah asking, “Have you considered being a deejay.” After being rejected, he asked Nicki if they could “collide” (instead of “collaborate”).

7. The claws come out. While you may have expected as much after rumblings of an on-going Nicki/Mariah feud permeated the news surrounding this season, the two will definitely have some heated moments on-camera. They bump heads more than once during auditions and still have a long way to go. With Mariah’s notorious diva-like sensibilities, and Nicki’s no-holds-barred approach to… everything… sparks will certainly fly this season.

8. Crazy auditions. From Nicki wannabes to all-out weirdos, this season is sure to deliver some crazy auditions. One standout is Iowa native Kevin Nabiti, who tried to impress the judges with his [dancing?] and quick tongue. He puzzled the panel with his turn at Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” we think.

9. Fiery frontrunners. While some came to play, others came to win. Case in point, 28-year-old Tenna Torres, who wowed the judges with Carole King’s classic, “You’ve Got a Friend.” The Queens, N.Y. native attended Camp Mariah at age 13 and even sang for her as a child. She brought photos of her time there to show her idol and Mariah decided to keep them.

10. Hunky heartthrobs. With two female judges calling the shots, you’re likely to see a few questionable cuties make it through to the Hollywood round. Twenty-two-year-old Griffin Peterson had both ladies swooning after his rendition of “Wash By The Water.” They made sure to overrule Randy’s objections and send the sexy singer through to Hollywood.

11. Keith as a referee. The country crooner will serve double duty as judge and referee between Nicki and Mariah. During the divas’ disagreements, Keith is left in the middle to settle the score more times than not. His weapon of choice? Humor. Minaj revealed that Urban is actually hilarious and that his quick-witted, dry humor has been a welcomed relief from some tense moments on-set.

American Idol returns next Wednesday at 8PM on FOX.

– Cortney Wills

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‘American Idol’ Judges Explain What They’re Looking For

American Idol Season 12 Ryan Seacrest and Judges Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Cast photo New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Nicki Minaj New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Keith Urban New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Mariah Carey New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Ryan Seacrest New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Randy Jackson

FOX’s upcoming twelfth season of American Idol is sure to draw some curiosity with three new superstar judges whose backgrounds couldn’t be more different.

“It will be quite fun as you watch their different styles of judging and what they’re looking for,” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, 63, told the audience during Wednesday’s premiere screening event in Los Angeles.

Mariah [Carey], I think, is looking for that singer/songwriter, that’s a true star, Nicki Minaj is looking for somebody that isn’t just there for their voice, but there for their performance, their charisma and everything else. Keith Urban is looking for an authentic singer, someone who is credible. Randy Jackson, I’d say, is looking for someone who sings on pitch,” he continued.

Their backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse. Jackson, 56, the veteran Idol judge has been with the show since its debut season more than a decade ago. Carey is a power vocalist and arguably one of the most celebrated voices of our time. Thirty-year-old Minaj is a relatively new celebrity (compared to Carey). She’s a rapper and pop princess who likes to employ several personalities, sometimes simultaneously. And Urban is an Australian country singer. Each has different styles, different perspectives, and different ideas on what they’re looking for from this year’s hopefuls.

Jackson seems pretty confident about his formula for finding the right contestants. “There are three things that are really big characteristics for me,” the musician said. “They are uniqueness, unbelievable talent, and star power. Those are the three things a great artist needs and will give you a shot at a great career.”

On the other hand, Urban is a bit more emotional about what he’s looking for in contestants. “The reality is that we all react differently to different things and so I think for me, at the end of the day, it has to speak to me,” he said.

“If a person is creating art and saying something in a way that I’m captivated by that person and I can’t take my eyes off that person, that’s it for me.”

Minaj confirmed Lythgoe’s assertion that she’s looking for an all-around entertainer more than a standout vocalist saying, “I think that it’s something where you’ll know it when you’re in the same room with it.

“If you named the 10 biggest stars out right now, who would you say has a Whitney Houston voice? That’s just not where we are right now,” the hip-hop artist elaborated. “So, I think that because of this day and time, I’m looking for an overall entertainer. [I’m looking for] someone who is going to captivate people with or without music.”

Carey, 42, says she’s still learning what she wants in a contestant. And so far, her choices have spanned from favoring street performers to strong vocalists.

“To me it doesn’t matter, “ she said. “They can be unique in some way, different in another way. It’s a learning experience for me and what I’ve seen is that diversity plays into it in a deep way.”

American Idol returns to FOX on Wednesday at 8PM.

– Cortney Wills

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‘Nashville’ Winter Premiere Recap: Unhappily Married

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The songstresses of the South returned to our television Wednesday night with the winter premiere of ABC’s Nashville. Rayna James (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) picked up after the success of their forced but fabulous duet “Wrong Song.”

Note: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s episode, “Be Careful of Stones That You Throw.”

Fresh off a successful concert, Juliette looked like she could possibly be headed for a happily ever after when she proposed to her NFL boyfriend Sean Butler (Tilky Jones). Why all the impulsivity? Well for starters, Juliette doesn’t have a lot of stability in her life and she is desperate to hold onto anything that makes her happy.

Then there’s the small issue that Sean won’t have sex until marriage and Juliette uses sex to numb her painful emotions. I’m not saying this with any kind of background in psych, it’s actually her favorite thing to turn to as evidenced on previous episodes. In fact that’s how she found out that Sean was saving himself for marriage in the first place. So she met his loving family, saw a challenge, and the next thing we knew we saw her romantic proposal before the credits rolled for the holiday hiatus.

Obviously their elopement wasn’t going to sit well with Sean’s religious and overprotective family. When his mother told Juliette that “you don’t just marry the man, you marry the whole family,” I couldn’t help but think who was there to warn Teddy (Eric Close) before he married into Rayna’s family?

That Lamar (Powers Boothe) is one nasty father-in-law! I’ve been waiting for the subject of little Maddie’s (Lennon Stella) paternity to come up again since the pilot episode. I was wondering if maybe that was something that the writers decided not to go with after the pilot, but then we saw they were just biding there time. Not gonna lie, I was completely floored that Teddy was aware of the fact he wasn’t the biological father. That knowledge actually makes Rayna and Teddy’s bond seem stronger than it did before — especially when they told Lamar to screw off.

I know that some may question my logic, but in my opinion the less secrets these two have from each other the stronger a chance their marriage and family has. Rayna was pissed when she threatened to take the girls on tour, but ultimately as she said she does love Teddy and she knows that keeping the girls in their normal routine is the best shot they have.

As for Maddie’s biological father? Well, we all think it’s Deacon (Charles Esten) right? I mean that has to be the obvious choice. Speaking of Deacon, who pissed in his Cheerios? That boy was in a foul mood and it couldn’t have just been because they slapped makeup and hair gel on him before a photoshoot. Is it the high pressure of being on the road with all of those guys? Does he miss Rayna? He did not seem happy to find out about her tour.

Here’s wishing he could’ve been in Nashville to give his niece Scarlett (Clare Bowen) some advice before she slept with her grimy ex Avery (Jonathan Jackson). Singing the lead with Avery’s band was one way to teach him a lesson, but honestly I really just enjoyed that scene because she finally seemed liberated. Scarlett walks around like a pushover, torn between Avery and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and never does what she wants. She finally looked happy up on that stage.

It takes a little more to have me invested in Scarlett, Avery and Gunnar’s storyline because it doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of the show, but if they keep up stuff like they did on this episode I could get really into it.

The fallout for next week should be epic. Avery knows about Scarlett’s stunt and Rayna and Juliette are finally out on the road. I at least thought Juliette would’ve done a few circles around the church or called Sean, but nope. Payback is going to be a bitch… maybe an even bigger bitch than Juliette herself!

Buzz Moments

OMG: Juliette’s limo pulling up to the tarmac and her private jet. She didn’t even call Sean or anything!

Thank You, TV gods.: Scarlett finds some balls! Loved seeing her up on stage with Avery’s old band jamming out and being happy.

Awkward: The fact that Juliette knows her mother is right about her life and marriage.

Hotness: Limo sex. Always a plus on TV.

Fabu-lous: Rayna’s line: “I only hate hangovers and sunburns. This is just business.”

Can.Not.Wait: Juliette gets served. Uh oh!

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 7. Solid return. It took me the whole episode to feel invested in Scarlett’s storyline and Juliette’s plot was a tad predictable.

Leigh Raines

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Katie Holmes Bonds With Daughter Suri Cruise at Whole Foods in New York

Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise snuck in a little mother-daughter bonding time Tuesday evening while shopping at Whole Foods in Manhattan.

Celebuzz spotted the 34-year-old actress inside the franchise’s Chelsea location, where she shopped for food while Suri sat in the front seat of her cart.

Despite her uber-famous status, a makeup-free Holmes blended in perfectly with the crowd, and spent much of her trip doting on her adorable six-year-old daughter.

At one point, Holmes — who donned a light winter coat and had her hair pulled up in the back — was seen giving Suri a big hug near the deli, before the mother-daughter duo, photographed here on Jan. 3, headed to the checkout line.

Holmes, who divorced Suri’s father, Tom Cruise, over the summer, recently wrapped production on the Broadway play Dead Accounts, which closed in early January due to poor ticket sales.

The Chelsea Whole Foods is often a hot-spot for celebrity sightings. Recent sightings include Stephanie March, the wife of chef Bobby Flay and former star of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

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Mariah Carey: How My Children Influenced My Decision to Join ‘American Idol’

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Music fans got a jolt last July when Mariah Carey signed on to become a judge on FOX’s American Idol. But after giving birth to twins in 2011, the pop diva felt like she needed to stop touring and settle down with husband, actor and America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon, and babies Moroccan and Monroe.

“I don’t know that I felt like this would ever be necessarily the right fit for me, but then it turned out really working well after I had the babies and everything,” Carey told reporters at the Television Critics Association Press Tour on Tuesday.

“You can kind of stay in one place and let them feel grounded and have fun and go to children’s museums and all that kind of stuff,” she continued.

With more than 200 million record sales, Carey is one of the biggest-selling artists in music history. So what does she sing to her babies to put them to sleep?

“We found this thing called Babies Love MC,” she said about a collection of songs on iTunes that carried lullaby versions of her songs, which were not approved by the Carey camp and later pulled down.

“They’ve even got the song ‘Obsessed’ on there,” she said about her tune featuring lyrics that read, “Why you so obsessed with me? Boy, I want to know, lyin’ that you’re sexin’ me.”

“I’m like, ‘You really want babies listening to ‘Obsessed’? But there’s no lyrics, they’re just hearing the melodies,” she assured reporters. “So I’ll go in there and sing along with them, into the nursery. Sometimes I’ll sing ‘Hero,’ it could be ‘We Belong Together,’ they even have ‘Shake It Off.’ So it’s great to sing to them, even just to sing one note and hear them be on pitch, that’s major.”

And what did Carey’s mom sing to her when she was a baby? When the New York native first heard Harry Nilsson’ssong, ‘Without You,’ playing as muzak in an Italian restaurant in Florida, she turned to her dining partner and said, “I think I should remake this.” She did, and the single became a huge hit. Little did Carey know her own mother used to sing her the very same song when she was just a baby.

“I don’t remember that happening but she said that and I believe her,” she confided about her first exposure to pop music.

“I grew up with a mom who was an opera singer in a family that’s biracial with a lot of R&B music playing, soul music,” she recalled. “I’ve had this sort of love of music that’s carried me through my life and gotten me through the deepest darkest times in my life.”

Carey’s white mother, Patricia Hickey, was ostracized from her family for eloping with Carey’s father, Alfred Roy, an African-American and Venezuelan. The strain was too much for their relationship and when Carey was three, her parents were divorced.

As a person of mixed race, she felt ostracized in the neighborhood where she grew up and took refuge in music, an experience that helped shape her career behind the mic as well as her new position as a judge on Idol.

“When I look at a lot of these contestants, I can kind of see something in some of them if they have that hurt, if they have that extra feeling,” she said. “If I have to say no, that means it’s going to be a better life experience for them. It happened to me. I was told no a lot of times. You just need that extra bit of time.”

American Idol returns Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8PM on FOX.

What do you think of Mariah’s musical secret weapon in the nursery?

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