Hamptons visitor Mariah Carey had some ups and downs during her first week as a judge on Season 12 of FOX’s American Idol.
The pop star felt some serious love from would-be Idols during auditions in New York and Chicago, but Carey got nothing but daggers from fellow judge Nicki Minaj (just as the Idol producers hoped, we can be sure). Carey and Minaj join longtime AI veteran Randy Jackson (an old pal of Carey‘s) and newcomer Keith Urban at the judges table, making Season 12 the first with a four-judge panel and the possibility of a tie vote. It appears the producers were hoping for drama and fireworks between the two pop divas to boost its sagging ratings and to fill the hole left by the loss of Water Mill resident Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler as judges.
While the show may have contrived the explosive Carey–Minaj pairing, insiders say their obvious bad blood is no act. Back in February 2010, Carey hired the then-up-and-coming Minaj to rap on “Up Out My Face,” a track on her latest album at the time, and there were no reports of tension between the two. Carey was tapped for the Idol judges panel in July of 2012 and Minaj was confirmed with Urban two months later in September 2012. Rumors immediately began swirling that the two women were not getting along, but Carey refuted them during the judges’ first press conference, MTV reports.
Two weeks later, on October 1, the rumors seemed to be proven true when a video surfaced of Carey and Minaj arguing during auditions in North Carolina. The unpredictable Minaj, who looks to be a calculated risk to help ratings, was filmed complaining, “I told them, I’m not f—ing putting up with her f—ing highness over there.” On October 4, Carey called Hamptons resident Barbara Walters and told her Minaj had not apologized. Carey said she had hired extra security, apparently fearing the eccentric Minaj might get physical, Walters explained on The View.
Within hours, Minaj tweeted about rumors she had threatened to shoot Carey, posting, “Hey yAll. Lets just say nicki said smthn about a gun. ppl will believe it cuz she’s a black rapper. Lmao. I’ll then hit up Barbara n milk it.” Things quieted down between the two after that and they even made nice and complimented each other to the media, but clearly the tension was not over. Perhaps the women feel they are in competition for a spot on the coveted judges panel, which could be whittled back down to three next season?
Minaj and Carey exchanged barbs, eye rolls and sarcastic remarks throughout Wednesday’s American Idol premiere and it continued on Episode 2 on Thursday. From next week’s promos, it appears the fun has only just begun.
American Idol continues at 8 p.m. every Wednesday and Thursday night on FOX.