As the fur continues to fly between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, the girls settle down for an 'amicable' chat - referee at the ready!
By ARIEL COEN
Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj's catty war of words on the set of American Idol
made for good entertainment late last year, but things turned serious when Nicki allegedly made threats about shooting the woman she renamed 'her f***ing highness.'
While outspoken Nicki furiously denied the threat claims, there was no denying the bad blood between her and Mariah. After the fight erupted, Mariah revealed she'd hired extra security as a precaution. 'It felt like an unsafe work environment,' the 42-year-old said. 'Anytime somebody's reeling threats at somebody, it's not appropriate. I've got two babies, I'm not going to take any chances.'
And, although the Idol
judges tried to smile their way through a press conference for the Television Critics Association winter tour last week — with the show hitting screens on Channel 5 and its new home 5* this week — it was clear from their eye rolling and subtle snickering that tensions are still simmering away.
However, Mariah tried her best to play down the situation: 'This is a very passionate panel and there are a lot of strong personalities. Starting this process, I thought there was the possibility that there was going to be a difference of opinion. The fighting is a distraction from the show and a distraction from the contestants. It's unfair to them. It shouldn't be about any of us, it should be about them.'
For her part, Nicki also played at diplomatic card when asked to say something nice about her rival. The 30-year-old rapper insisted: 'I say nice things about Mariah all the time. She is one of my favourite artists of all time. To be on a panel with her, it's kind of crazy. All the singers come in aspiring to be Mariah in terms of talent and career length.'
While Mariah acknowledged that was 'a very sweet thing to say,' she couldn't help but stir the pot again when she said their fight 'was sort of one-sided thing.' The remark didn't sit well with Nicki, who blasted: 'No it wasn't! See? They don't want a rising star, they want drama.'
Whether they genuinely don't see eye-to-eye or it's just for ratings, it's clear that Mariah and Nicki are on different wavelengths. Here, with fellow judges Keith Urban and Randy Jackson keeping a barrier between the feuding divas. Mariah and Nicki sit down for long enough to chat about their time on the show and how they're adjusting to the demands of being on American Idol
Why did you decide to join the Idol panel?
Mainly it's working with up-and-comers. I know how hard it was for me and I like being able to see them rise. That's the ultimate in giving back.
When I watch these shows and they say yes to someone who clearly doesn't deserve it, that bothers me in my soul — I want to jump through the TV. For me, it was completely different. I don't feel the need to send someone through just because of a great story.
Nicki, have you worked with Mariah before?
Yes, and she was very funny. Awesome.
Mariah, what's it like juggling your Idol schedule with being a mother to your twins, Moroccan and Monroe?
It's super-difficult. It's really exhausting, but this isn't the most exhausting part. The best part is when everything runs smoothly and you come to work, do your job and go home like more of a normal person than someone who's in a studio for 18 hours, which would be me.
What moments do you want to make sure you set aside for your kids?
Every moment is incredible and a blessing. I was just performing in Sydney and I brought them out on stage because I want them to have these experiences. Some might disagree with that, but I knew Monroe especially was going to love it. She didn't want to get off the stage. [Motherhood's] an amazing thing I never thought I'd experience because I always said I don't think I'd do it because my career was always my life, but when you find the right person...
How are you finding the workload, Nicki - do you ever have time to sleep?
What's sleep? Last night I had two and a half hours and then I woke myself up every 30 minutes thinking I was going to be late. I had a three-day vacation at home in Malibu and that was like the best moment of my life.
When you watch yourself on Idol, how do you think you come across as a judge?
I'm not going to watch myself. I have a hard time watching myself with anything. I'm afraid I'm going to over-analyse it and make myself feel bad about something I can't change. With performances, I'll watch and then pause it and see if I could handle that. Sometimes it's a good performance and I really love it and I'll watch it every day after that. I'm my biggest critic.
How are you hoping to help the acts?
When I'm on the stage I feel what I do — if I do great, if I do not, great, I feel it. It's funny because that's what we're trying to tell the contestants. You should be at a place in your artistry when you know when you're on and you know when you're off, and no one should even need to tell you that.
Mariah, you've had a good 25 years in the business, what's one thing you wish you figured out early on in your career?
Not to sign a bunch of stupid contracts. I gave away a lot of stuff.