Don’t expect Mariah Carey to dedicate her next performance of “We Belong Together” to the folks at American Idol. The Grammy-winning diva confirmed via Twitter on Thursday the widely rumored notion that she will not return for Season 13 of Fox’s reality singing competition.
Additionally, the network announced that fellow judge Nicki Minaj is exiting The House That Kelly Clarkson Built, as well.
“W/ global success of ‘#Beautiful’ (#1 in 30+ countries so far) @MariahCarey confirms world tour & says goodbye 2 Idol,” read a message from Carey’s publicists PMK-BNC, that the singer retweeted shortly thereafter.
“Mariah Carey is a true global icon — one of the most accomplished artists on the planet — and we feel extremely fortunate that she was able to bring her wisdom and experience to the American Idol contestants this season,” noted a joint release from FOX, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment. “We know she will remain an inspiration to Idol hopefuls for many seasons to come.”
Shortly thereafter, the companies released this addendum to their announcement: “Nicki Minaj is a superstar who brought a level of honesty and passion to American Idol and who had a tremendous positive impact on so many contestants this season. Given her extremely busy career, we understand and respect her decision and wish her the best.”
Carey’s tenure at Idol was a stormy one, beginning with a much-publicized blowout with fellow panelist Nicki Minaj while taping the Charlotte, NC audition episode last fall. Once the live shows began, the “Heartbreaker” singer proved to be an unfocused, rambling presence, her occasional bits of insightful feedback buried under layers of vague niceties and an obvious, deep-rooted discomfort with being perceived as too harsh or critical.
By April, with Idol‘s ratings in a free-fall, rumors circulated that the show’s producers had concocted a plan to replace Carey with former judge Jennifer Lopez, a move that reportedly fell apart after Carey’s team “responded with a threat of litigation.”
Carey herself declared on the show’s April 10 performance episode that she’d been “reprimanded by the powers that be” for failing to perform her duties as a judge.
Minaj, for her part, scored mostly positive reviews early in the Idol season, thanks to her terse, deeply opinionated, sometimes hilarious critiques. As the season wore on though, her Twitter rants against Carey and even finalist Devin Velez became an irksome distraction, and her actual connection to the competition and contestants seemed less and less genuine.
Carey and Minaj’s exits come at a time when Fox execs and Idol producers are feverishly working on ways to restore some of the show’s ratings mojo when it returns next January. Original judge Randy Jackson announced earlier this month that he wouldn’t be returning for Season 13, and last week reports circulated that Fox was planning a panel comprised entirely of former Idol contestants, most likely Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson and either Adam Lambert of Clay Aiken.
Last Friday, Fox’s longtime reality chief Mike Darnell announced he’d be leaving the network come June.
Happy that Carey and Minaj are making Idol a one-and-done moment, or are you #sad about their exits? Sound off in the comments!