There’s evidence that new “American Idol” judge Nicki Minaj wanted to strangle her co-worker, Mariah Carey, in Charlotte this week. And the feeling, apparently, was mutual.
Yes, Tuesday’s “American Idol” auditions at Charlotte Motor Speedway were supposed to focus on unknown singers and big dreams. Instead, the two-day event turned into a bit of a nightmare – at least on the face of it – and it’s possible Fox and the show’s producers would now like to strangle their two female stars.
To catch you up: Tuesday evening, celebrity news website TMZ posted a video of Minaj unleashing a tirade as colorful as her wigs and outfits in a heated dispute with Carey, which reportedly boiled over after one of the contestants had performed.
Wednesday, then, was damage control day.
Reporters woke up to learn that an afternoon press conference with Minaj, Carey, Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest that had been scheduled at the speedway was canceled overnight, with Fox’s publicity director saying in an e-mail that it was “due to the production schedule” (technically true, as auditions reportedly wrapped prematurely on Tuesday so the two women could cool off).
The host then went on his morning radio show “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” and spun it like a Harlem Globetrotter: “It got heated between Nicki and Mariah. It was intense! … These are all very different individuals with different perspectives and different opinions that provide for interesting conversation and dialogue and feedback for the contestants.”
If you’re a superfan of “Idol,” you’re probably aware that rumors of fighting between Minaj and Carey have been circulating for weeks. Although in previous interviews the pair has denied any discord, this video would seem to confirm that they’re not exactly BFFs.
However, the video itself raises questions. From what we understand, security around Fox’s activity at the speedway was extremely tight. Reportedly, many speedway employees didn’t even know “Idol” was coming this week until the trucks showed up; media access was very limited to begin with; the actual judges’ set was treated like the Oval Office.
So … who took this video? How did they get away with taking it? Why would they jeopardize their job by sharing it with TMZ? Certainly there weren’t a ton of people in that room at the time. Surely it wouldn’t take a very sophisticated investigation to ferret out the leak.
Which begs the biggest question: Was this an inside job to create buzz around the show?
Fox isn’t talking about the incident at all. But this is significant, if you’re an “Idol” stakeholder: Even though Season 12 doesn’t start till January, a whole lot of people are.