Those clingy underground remarks and anonymous comments made about there being tension on the "American Idol" set appear to be examples of truth-based gossip, because not only did the live auditions with the judges erupt in a public display of acrimony between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey at Tuesday's Charlotte auditions, but producers shut the filming down for the day, according to TMZ. And most of the altercation was caught on video, complete with Minaj hurling f-bombs and calling Carey "her (expletive) highness."
According to sources, Minaj allegedly threatened Carey with physical violence, telling the "I'll Be There" singer, "I'm going to knock your head off." But that was reportedly before the video that TMZ obtained started capturing Minaj in her fury. Someone had the wherewithal to start filming from the side (because you know "Idol" wouldn't have released that video footage), possibly with a cellphone camera. Regardless, Minaj and Carey were caught on video trading verbal blows at the audition, with Carey mostly drowned out while Minaj fired off expletives at Carey and seemed to yell at someone off-camera.
TMZ transcribed some of the heated sparring, where judge Randy Jackson tried to calm the exchange, standing and saying "settle down" and "time out" several times. Judge Keith Urban, who sat between Carey and Minaj, simply threw up a hand when Minaj exploded.
But the video shows the "Super Bass" rapper simply going off, dropping f-bombs along the way, telling the unknown person off stage that she had "told them I'm not (expletive) putting up with her (expletive) highness over there. Figure it the (expletive) out. Figure it out."
Minaj yelled that she was being patronized and she called attention to someone calling her "gangster."
As for Carey, most of her words are too low to register (although there surely is someone with good sound equipment isolating the voices and getting what was said by all). However, there is a point after Minaj called the singer "her (expletive) highness" that Carey said "little baby" and "running around," but the gist of the comment were unclear.
So what set pink-haired rapper off? Apparently there was a disagreement over the audition of a young woman.
But, according to TMZ, this wasn't the first time there had been problems with the auditions. Sources told the gossip website that the two female judges had squared off in their first auditions in New York, with Carey interrupting Minaj several times and Minaj simply raising her voice to talk over Carey.
But that was in mid-September. But then everyone downplayed the reported animosity between the two women. Carey posted to Twitter that there was no "feud." "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest told the "Today Show" that the two were very strong women with candid opinions and there were not many "dull moments" on the set. He also said they got along "fine." And more recently, Minaj told Access Hollywood, “It’s obvious that we both have strong personalities, but ultimately, there’s respect there and I think if nothing else, it’ll make for really great TV.”
So how many fell for the mutual "respect" story that was being shoveled by everyone on the show? Probably not too many, given that a good indicator that something is amiss is a story used by all concerned that sounds strangely identical. And with the term "respect" appearing far too often, well...
And yet, it seems that everyone might have seen this coming, especially when TMZ reported just after news broke that Minaj was in negotiations that Carey, upon being informed by "Idol," simply hung up the phone without saying a word. She was reportedly angered by Minaj's inclusion on the Season 12 judges panel.
It is as yet unclear exactly where the animus between the women was generated, but the two women worked together on Mariah Carey's hit single, "Up Out My Face," a song that could very well describe their current relationship. And although alluded to professional respect in her interview with Access Hollywood, that did not necessarily imply that said respect extended to the personal.
It is also unclear as to what effect Nicki Minaj's outburst will have on the subsequent auditions.
But "great TV," as Minaj suggested? Doubtful. Entertaining -- maybe. Interesting perhaps, if any of it makes its way to being presented during the auditions episodes. But even more interesting will be how producers keep Carey and Minaj from screaming at each other when the show goes live.
If they can...
Producers at the Charlotte auditions decided to call an end to the days try-outs, which were near completion anyway, and let the judges leave, hoping that the anger wouldn't make its way to the next day's auditions.
Carey was the first judge signed for Season 12 after the departure of judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Randy Jackson's return to the judges panel was only finalized in September, about the same time that negotiations with Urban and Minaj were completed.
"American Idol" returns for its twelfth season to Fox Television in January.
(photo credit: Philip Nelson, Creative Commons)