New American Idol Judges, Execs Speak Out on Mariah Carey-Nicki Minaj Feud: 'It's Authentic'

2013 Winter TCA Tour - Day 5First things first: Dueling divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj did not tear each other’s throats out when they took the stage to promote the 12th season of American Idol Tuesday morning at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena.

But their very public feud was a big topic of conversation.

Asked if the rivalry is real or trumped up for ratings, Fox’s reality boss Mike Darnell insisted it’s “authentic,” adding, “There’s passion in this group. They disagree about the talent and how to approach the talent. [But] it’s not just the girls, it’s everybody.”

Added Carey, who barely made eye contact with Minaj during the 45-minute presser: “This is a very passionate panel. There’s a lot of strong personalities. Starting this process, I felt like there was a possibility that there could be differences of opinion… The fighting is what it is. This is American Idol. It’s bigger than all that. It’s about the next huge talent super star that will come from this show.”

A reporter then challenged the ladies to reveal one thing they admire about each other, and Minaj was the first to take the bait. “She’s one of my favorite artists of all time,” she gushed. “She’s really shaped a generation of singers. To be on a panel with her, it’s kind of crazy. All these singers that come in, they aspire to be a Mariah Carey.”

Carey then (sort of) returned the compliment, reminding the assembled media that, “Nicki and I worked together very early on in her career [on the song ‘Up Out My Face’]. Actually, it was one of my favorite videos and songs. I did feel that she was going to go very far [then] and still have that feeling.”

When the issue was brought up later, Carey sassed under her breath that the rivalry was “one-sided,” to which Minaj shot back, “No. it wasn’t.” (Translation: The still hate each other!)

Other non-feud highlights from the panel:

* “The girls are pretty strong this year,” revealed exec producer Nigel Lythgoe. “Stronger than the boys.”

* There’s too many of these shows on the air and they’re all taking each other down a little bit,” admitted Darnell. “But this is still the king of them all, and the only show that makes stars. Period.”

* Minaj counted Enya among her music idols.

* The number of contestants who received tickets to Hollywood this season? 276. And once again, the genders will be segregated. “We’ve separated the boys and the girls in order to be able to focus a lot more on the different talent,” said Lythgoe. “So we did one week with the boys and then did the following week with the girls. We’re going to separate them in Vegas again until we get down to our Top 10.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. MM says:


  2. meem says:

    “The girls are pretty strong this year,” revealed exec producer Nigel Lythgoe. “Stronger than the boys.”
    TRANSLATION: “We realize that we’ve had a string of lackluster boys win this stupid show, and if we have to rig the vote results to make it happen, a GIRL is going to win this year.”

    • Jason says:

      They say that every year and the boy still wins in a landslide.

      • MiaRW says:

        You’d think Nigel would know by now that the “pimped” contestant usually gets voted off because we don’t want to be told how to vote, thank you very much.

      • Love The Voice says:

        Jason is right. They have been touting the strength of the girls for many years, and the WGWG always wins. Sad. I only start to watch AI during Hollywood week because it’s painful to watch them make mockeries of delusional people. That’s one of the many reasons I love The Voice, because artists on that show are fully vetted.

    • Rick says:

      I was about to put literally the EXACT same thing even the capped “translation” I laughed when I saw that xD

  3. Pearl says:

    The girls ARE ALLWAYS stronger than the boys. u.u’

    • ben says:

      While this isn’t enitrely fair, they definitely were last year. But, frankly, the girls can be stronger than the guys and still come in in spots 2, 3, 4, 5 to a better guy (or indeed, a worse guy). It’s not about the overall strength of the genders, but the individual who captures the zeitgeist.

      • Tara says:

        It’s the voting policy. If they would limit the votes to 10 per device, [phone, text, web] the entire show would change. They won’t do that. So I won’t watch anymore.

  4. A says:

    I stopped watching this show after season 6 but I check in every once in a while and tbh the only truly successful American Idol winners and contestants have been female. Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Katharine McPhee. It’s so weird though how the winners these past seasons have been male and none of them have risen to the level of fame as these women

    • teatime says:


      • A says:

        why bother commenting if you have nothing worthwhile to say?

        • teatime says:

          I am not sure why we care which gender has the most ‘fame.’ Except that you wanted to say something that the one gender has more of and you thought ‘fame’ would do it. Then you made a point of excluding Clay and Daughtry from the list of those with the most ‘fame’ or Phillip who has a current huge hit on the radio solely because they are male and you wanted to say something to indicate only female have. If they were female then you would have included them as having the most ‘fame’ or ‘success’ to make some non point.

          • A says:

            I made the comment about gender because it has been criticized that American Idol has a gender bias seeing as the last five seasons have produced all male winners which most of them have had to be honest minimal success. And to compare Clay, Daughtry, and Phillips’ one current hit to the level of fame and success of Jennifer Hudson (Oscar WInner), Kelly Clarkson (Multiple Grammy’s and a decade of success), and Carrie Underwood (the woman has won practically every award out there) is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. Its not about caring which gender has the most fame, The fact that the most successful ones happen to be female is what it is. I just mentioned that there seems to be a bias and that bias has not really proven successful. Let’s face it, American Idol is pretty much a popularity contest.

        • Just because you feel someone has nothing worthwhile to say does not mean eveyone feels that way!

  5. caren says:

    Wow … If this story is any indication, Keith and Randy will have to start their own feud just to get noticed! Very sad that the only thing you got from the whole panel is that Mariah and Nicki don’t get along (Shocker!)…

  6. Jimmy says:

    I dont understand why Randy Jackson was awarded another season as a judge. Maybe if they had him as a mentor of some sort, that would meet with every contestant at some point during the week to help them out and provide professional advice before they performed, that would be okay. But his “yo”s,”dawg”s and “critiques” have gotten old and have been recycled to no end. They should have replaced him too. And I wont even start about Nicki Minaj. There are no words to describe how disappointed I am in Idol for hiring her. Bad choice! If this season flops, that will be the last nail in Idol’s coffin.

  7. darcy's evil twin says:

    * “The girls are pretty strong this year,” revealed exec producer Nigel Lythgoe. “Stronger than the boys.”

    Do they just recycle that statement every year?

    Anyway, no surprise Mariah and Nicki What’s-her-name are in a b****-slapping contest. I heard on the radio today Mariah hired extra security, LOL. Because someone called the “b” word? Too funny.

    Oh well, I”m a true idoloonie and as always I am looking forward to the show. I’m normally a fairly intelligent person. I’m entitled to a few guilty pleasures.

  8. CK says:

    Drama? On Idol?? That never happens ;-) Same old stuff – girls better this year and judge feuds. Can’t wait to hear how Michael and Melinda analyze this season. They are doing this, right Michael? Hope so because I adore them. Be good to those two. They’re awesome and have such great chemistry together.