The twelfth season of American Idol premieres tonight, and the Fox reality singing competition has been making headlines for months due to all the drama surrounding the public feud between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. America will finally get to watch the sparks fly between the shows new judges during the Idol auditions recorded late last year. To get you caught up on all the commotion, we are taking a look back at how all the drama really went down!
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A Precursor to the Drama?
In February 2010, Mariah Carey recruited Nicki Minaj, who was just starting to make her mark in the music industry, to appear on one of the tracks on the part-Venezuelan singer’s Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. The pair even appeared together in the video for the aptly titled single, “Up Out of My Face,” which was directed by Carey’s husband Nick Cannon.
The High-Profile Replacement
Last July Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly announced Mariah Carey’s signing at a meeting of the Television Critics Association, and then put the pop diva on speaker phone to confirm the deal. “I am so excited to be joining American Idol,” exclaimed Carey about replacing Jennifer Lopez and joining longtime pal Randy Jackson on the show. “This kind of all just happened really quickly.” Carey, who will reportedly earn about $18 million for the season, tweeted in July, "I'm excited to help find and nurture new talent."
Following months of speculation about who would join Carey at the judges table – including a rumored shortlist that included Katy Perry, Enrique Iglesias, Adam Lambert and Miley Cyrus – it was announced that Nicki Minaj and country superstar Keith Urban would join the show, both replacing Steven Tyler on the four-person judges panel. Sources say Carey was not thrilled by the news of Minaj’s hiring. In fact, the “Hero” singer reportedly hung up the phone when told of the news.
The Calm Before the Storm
In mid-September, Fox released the first official photo of the new American Idol judges panel, with Mariah Carey sitting pretty at one end of the table, with Keith Urban sitting between her and Nicki Minaj. Little did he know he’d be caught in the crosshairs. But rumors were already swirling that Carey and Minaj were butting heads. Carey shot the drama talk down at the judges' first official press conference in New York City. "How are we gonna feud in two days? A feud takes a little longer to spread out [than that]," she said.
Two Weeks Later…
Despite the “nothing’s going on here” decrees, Carey and Minaj were videotaped arguing on the set only two weeks after their press conference. During an audition round in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 2, the spat-heard-round-the-world escalated to a curse-filled tirade, with Minaj telling the room, "I told them, I'm not f---ing putting up with her f---ing highness over there." A day later, Idol host Ryan Seacrest said the war of words went “too far” but reported that the singers were playing nice while judging talent in North Carolina. No further incidents erupted, and the panel moved on to Louisiana that same week, with Carey and Minaj remaining calm, cool and collected during filming.
No Taking Chances
On October 4, Carey dialed up The View’s Barbara Walters to address the recorded outburst. Walters shared details of her conversation on the daytime talk show, “Mariah says she can't take a chance and she has hired extra security. Nicki has not apologized, but they have since been at meetings with producers and judges." Hours later, Minaj took to Twitter to comment on allegations that she had threatened Carey with a gun. "Hey yAll. Lets just say nicki said smthn about a gun. ppl will believe it cuz she's a black rapper. Lmao. I'll then hit up Barbara n milk it," wrote the rapper, who even called out Walters for not getting her side of the story.
Yes We Can
Carey and Minaj’s Idol drama had everyone talking, including President Barack Obama. During a call to radio host Michael Yo's The Yo Show, he addressed the diva showdown and displayed the diplomacy we've come to expect from the POTUS. "I think that they are going to be able to sort it out, I am confident," the president reassured. "I'm all about bringing people together, working for the same cause, I think both outstanding artists are going to be able to make sure that they're moving forward and not going backwards."
During Minaj's three-part E! special My Truth, which aired in November, the “Super Bass” singer talked about the beef on camera. Minaj offered some insight into what triggered the fight. "20 minutes before that happened, she egged me on and I walked off — I stormed off the stage because didn't wanna do that. So I left and when I came back it was another jab," alleged Minaj. “She's admitted that she did not want another female doing the show, thinking somebody's coming to steal her shine," added Minaj. "And nitpicking, nitpicking, nitpicking — I don't do well with that passive aggress sh--. I'm not gonna allow it no more. I can't. I work and keep it moving, I don't even f--- with the people in this business." Days after the special aired, she toldto MTV News that in the handful of weeks since the video leaked "we've been fine."
“Sometimes Things Get Heated…”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Carey offered her two cents about the incident while Minaj preferred to remain tight-lipped. "Sometimes things get heated for their own reasons," said Carey. "I don't think the panel has an issue." She later discussed the incident with Barbara Walters again, reiterating how terrified she felt when it all went down. "It felt like an unsafe work environment," she noted, later adding that she believes the skirmish took away from the show's essence. "I think [Idol] is a classic, classy show and it didn't need this. I really think it was just a crass moment."
Ready to Make Nice?
In the days leading up to American Idol’s highly anticipated premiere, Carey and Minaj seemed to be ready to make nice during last week’s 2013 Winter TCA tour, where they were once again separated by one seat. "Time heals all wounds," said Carey. Minaj, who reportedly had a blank look on her face for much of the event, jokingly added, "And we watched my [sex] tape," referencing the alleged video that’s been rumored to exist for years. "We're professionals. Have you ever had an argument with someone you work with?" Minaj even complimented Carey at the event. "She's one of my favorite artists of all times," said Minaj. "She's really shaped a generation of singers. 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 in terms of career length."
No Ill Feelings?
During an appearance on former Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show on Tuesday, January 15, Minaj talked about the rumors that spread like a wildfire before she even started taping the show. " I heard all the stuff that was being said, but I didn't believe it. I heard them saying 'Mariah doesn't want you on the panel' but I was like, 'No. I am friends with Mariah.' I was like arguing people down. Like, 'Don't believe everything you read, you're crazy.' And so I went there and I started to feel a bit of the shade. And I just kind of overcompensated by being crazier,” said Minaj, adding. "It's like a defense mechanism. You know what I mean? Your feelings are hurt and you can't believe it so you kind of just compensate with being crazy." But the rap superstar told DeGeneres, she doesn't have any ill feelings toward Carey. "I cannot hold a grudge against Mariah Carey. What people don't understand is that I've looked up to her for so many years. So I don't know if she's gotten over it but I have," she said. "I mean, I'm over there cracking up laughing, having fun and if she's still holding a grudge. I don't know. Like I don't care."
Are You Ready?
Since Minaj’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Carey hasn’t spoken out about the rapper’s conversation with the comedienne. Instead, she opted to send this tweet, “Are you ready??? #idolin1day,” along with a photo of her in a black and white dress and American Idol’s premiere information included.