Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Ryan Seacrest were joined by American Idol executive producers this morning at The Television Critics Association Tour in Pasadena, CA to talk about the upcoming 12th season. And as expected, all the questions were about the highly publicized feud between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.
"This is a very passionate panel," Carey said. "I think there are a lot of strong personalities and starting this process, I thought it was a possibility there could be differences of opinions. The fighting is what it is. This is American Idol, it's bigger than all that. It's bigger than some stupid trumped up thing. It's about the next superstar."
"We're professionals," Minaj said when asked how they buried the hatchet. "Haven't you ever had an argument with someone you work with?" Carey added, "I think time heals all wounds. The whole thing is convoluted. It's a distraction from the show. It's a distraction from the contestants. It shouldn't be about any of us sitting up here, it should be about the contestants."
Minaj was then asked to counter all the negative press and say something nice about Carey. "I say nice things about Mariah all the time," she laughed. "I tell her all the time what a fan I am of her. She's one of my favorite artists of all time. She's really shaped a generation of singers. To be on a panel with her [is] crazy. All these singers who come in aspire to be a Mariah Carey."
Carey then added that she loved working with Nicki on Up Out My Face, and that she loves hearing the rapper say such nice things about her.
If you ask my opinion, the two seem to tolerate one another -- barely. Throughout the panel, both made faces while the other spoke and their eyes nearly rolled out of their heads countless times. The more they were pressed to explain the feud, the more they seemed to get one another's nerves. Needless to say, their fighting will be a storyline (both for the show and for the press) all season long, and is primed to boil over in the live shows once the editors no longer have control.
But, according to returning judge Randy Jackson, the fighting has always been key to Idol's success. "We've always, every season, had passionate people. That's what this show is. That's what you want."
Turns out, "we" also want the judges to actually, ya know, judge. "Viewers want honesty," Idol EP Trish Kinane said. "They're not shrinking violets, they say what they think and we'll encourage that even more as we head into the live shows."
Check out two sneak peeks of Mariah, Nicki, Randy and Keith on American Idol Season 12!
American Idol premieres January 16 at 8 p.m. on Fox.