If the whole pop diva thing ever falls through, Mariah Carey can fall back on her Hebrew skills.
The singer and new “American Idol” judge showed off some impressive speaking abilities Wednesday on the premiere of the show’s 12th season, greeting an Israeli contestant with “shalom” and later proclaiming her performance “sababa,” or cool.
“I hear you are from Israel, so shalom,” Carey told Shira Gavrielov, identified on the show as an Israeli expat living in Brooklyn. The “Fantasy” performer then wished Gavrielov “shana tova,” or happy new year, which makes sense when you realize the segment was filmed back in September, not long after Rosh Hashana.
It appears Carey will get more opportunities to demonstrate her Hebrew vocabulary: Gavrielov earned the approval of all four judges, meaning she’ll make it to the next round of the reality TV juggernaut.
“I just want to say that I love you,” fellow judge Nicki Minaj told Gavrielov, proclaiming the contestant a “superstar.”
“American Idol” producers seem ready for the Israeli to stick around: They devoted nearly three minutes of Wednesday’s show to the singer, an eon at such an early stage of the season. Viewers learned that the 23-year-old is already a hitmaker at home, and that her dad, Miki Gavrielov, is a well-known member of the Israeli music industry.
Carey wasn’t the only one who got to speak a little Hebrew on Wednesday’s episode. After receiving the judges’ approval, Gavrielov was shown calling her father.
“Abba?” she asked, using the Hebrew for dad. Confirming it was him, she switched to English and smiled, “I’m going to Hollywood!”