Mariah Carey is all set to pick up her People’s Choice Award tonight on CBS. She’s a winner, I’m told, for Best R&B singer.

What? Yes, everyone seems to know who’s won those People’s Choice Awards before they arrive at the studio. Who votes in this thing? “The voting public,” a Hollywood publicist replied with a smirk. Well, whatever.

Mariah’s had a big year, especially because of her surprisingly understated performance in “Precious.” She’s picking up Breakthrough Performance awards everywhere, and now, suddenly, directors want Mariah Carey. It’s a far cry from her debut acting debacle years ago in “Glitter.”

It’s too bad Mariah didn’t get pushed more for an Oscar or Globe in “Precious,” since she’s also supported the movie like crazy. She’s shown up anywhere they’ve asked her to go. And she didn’t require a fee to be there, either!

One place where Mariah did not have a big hit last year: music. Her most recent album just didn’t take off despite the witty lead single, “Obsessed.”

But this is what Mariah has to do next, I think, to get back on the charts: a straight ahead album of real singing, no fluttering, no hip hop. She has to get a really musical producer ‘ like her buddy Randy Jackson ‘‘and record some actual, structured songs. She might even cover some classics. But the days of ethereal scatting over this and that, I think, are over. Let the voice be heard!

As for the People’s Choice: if you watch this show, you’ll know who’s won right away by who’s in the audience waiting to get their award. Since Hugh Jackman, Sandra Bullock, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift are already being promoted by CBS, you can guess they won their categories. Surprise! They’re not hanging around that studio for their health!

P.S. The People’s Choice has weird categories, like “Best On Screen Team.” For me, that would be the New York Yankees. Just sayin’…

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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