We've all become a bunch of cynics. It's true. Two pop divas can't yell and scream at each other in an attention-mongering tiff without someone -- or a bunch of someones -- coming to the conclusion that there is something behind it all, some ulterior person or force orchestrating the event. Such is the case with the recent dust-up between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on the set of "American Idol." That is correct. Some believe that not only was the caught-on-video Minaj cuss-fest staged but that the entire Minaj-Carey feud is an artificial construct designed to bring in viewers to the beleaguered top-rated reality series.
There are various reasons given for this, of course, from falling ratings over the past few years to the show's aging demographics to series fatigue coupled with the increase in the number of competitors. But be that as it may, is there any validity in the argument that the producers of "American Idol" have been and continue to stage and/or orchestrate the so-called "feud" that is said to have existed before the two pop stars were signed as judges to the show? Could there be some truth to the idea that all the little incidents of friction are being shaped for publicity by the show's producers?
According to Lisa de Moraes at the Washington Post, there very well could be. She points to the fact that executive producer Nigel Lythgoe was quick to call the gun threat to Carey "absolute rubbish" and that Carey's people were apparently trying to cause trouble. This looks to be a too obvious attempt to cover up. Moraes points out that Carey was in the same room with Minaj while she was on her rant, so it might be difficult to believe that Carey couldn't hear the ghetto-mouthed "Starships" singer yelling and threatening. She also points out that the threats were conveniently not caught on the exclusive video that found its way to TMZ.
And that's another thing, Moraes notes. TMZ with the exclusive fight video footage. It's no secret that TMZ has some sort of relationship with "American Idol." In fact, the finalists from the past two seasons have visited the TMZ studios.
Another thing that should be pointed out: TMZ was the first outlet to break the story that an "Idol" representative called Carey to give her a heads up on Minaj being signed to the judges panel. It was TMZ that reported that Carey said nothing but hung up the phone. She reportedly was furious over the "Idol" negotiations.
All of it seems to work toward an orchestration scenario, especially considering the carefully cultivated stories and interviews that maintained that the two women had nothing but respect for each other. It doesn't help that TMZ seems to be the media outlet getting almost all of the feuding exclusives. And no sooner than Minaj tells Access Hollywood that at least it would be "great TV" than there's a meltdown on the "Idol" set.
It isn't difficult for a couple of generations of TV watchers raised on 24-hour cynicism, political spin, and conspiracy theories to put together a scenario that "American Idol" producers seem to be staging things to jump-start the show's flagging ratings. (The show is still the No. 1 non-sporting event show on television, but it has lost millions of viewers over the past few seasons.)
And then there are those that used to be close to it all that seem to agree that it was all staged -- like former judge Steven Tyler.
Speaking with TMZ (but of course) outside an L. A. restaurant, Tyler was asked if he thought that the "beef" between the judges was "b.s." He said, "Of course. You kidding?"
But what if the "beef" isn't fake? What if the animosity that Minaj displayed on the video was an actual reaction to Carey and things said prior to the beginning of said video, as Minaj later claimed?
And those threats, including the one concerning a gun? The alleged threat that supposedly prompted Carey to hire extra security because of Minaj being so "unpredictable?" Minaj later scoffed that Carey created the threat for attention after the two had resolved their differences on Wednesday, the day following the blow-up. And Minaj herself later accused the producers of instigating the fight between her and Carey.
Could there be both orchestration and genuine animosity at work on the "Idol" set? Anything is possible and it could very well be that Minaj and Carey have both become the unknowing participants in a ratings gambit by the "Idol" producers, operators only too willing to generate heated exchanges and outright fights just to get higher television ratings. But, then, they could also be willing actors as well, having no problem playing the parts of drama queens and spoiled divas.
Reality show or not, "American Idol" is, after all, still part of Hollywood...
(photo credit: Aerosmith, Creative Commons)