EXCLUSIVE: Mariah Carey No Longer Working With Creative Director Anthony Burrell Following NYE Performance
By Desiree Murphy
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Mariah Carey is starting 2017 out fresh.
Following her troubling live performance during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest in New York City on Saturday, ET has learned that the "Emotions" singer is no longer working with her longtime creative director and tour choreographer/dancer, Anthony Burrell.
"He's not being brought back [in 2017] for a number of reasons," a source close to Carey told ET on Tuesday. The source claims that part of the reason for Burrell's departure is due to a placement decision he allegedly made without the approval of Carey or her management team.
According to the source, the Philadelphia native -- who is currently featured on Carey's eight-part docuseries, Mariah's World -- moved Carey's backup singers off the stage for the live performance in Times Square, putting them at the base of the risers in order to make more room for the dancers.
Burrell and his manager did not respond to multiple requests from ET for comment. Burrell did, however, answer a direct Instagram message from ET, simply responding with a thumbs up emoji. ET also reached out to Dick Clark Productions to verify that the backup singers were moved near the risers. DCP told ET they have "no further comment" on Carey's performance.
The source further explained to ET that Burrell's decision to move the backup dancers offstage "left Mariah without any support," as backup singers can be a source of support and help an artist pick up cues if their inner earpieces don't work and they can't hear the music.
Following the performance, Burrell took to Twitter on Monday, writing, "I haven't been able to watch NYE performance. 30 sec from live TV, boss couldn't hear her own vocal in her in-ears from Mic. #heartbroken."
"Sucks to see all of the hateful messages," his series of tweets continued. "Peep[s] are so quick to judge, not knowing we were all in a state of panic. 333 peace and positivity."
I haven't been able to watch NYE performance. 30 sec from live TV, boss couldn't hear her own vocal in her in-ears from Mic. #heartbroken
Burrell also shared a photo of him and fellow dancer Bryan Tanaka (aka Carey's new beau) lifting the diva up near the stage via Instagram. "Ushering in the new year like... @mariahcarey @bryantanaka#dickclark #rehearsal #shades or just #shady," his caption read.
As ET previously reported, Carey's reps told ET that there was "a production issue" and "technical difficulties" during the singer's NYE performance and "there unfortunately was nothing [Mariah] could do to continue with the performance given the circumstances."
"Mariah noticed something was wrong," added Carey's manager, Stella Bulochnikov. "She told the stage manager. They changed the mic pack out twice for her inner ear. And they told her that the frequency was off but that it would be on when she got on the stage."
"She's Mariah Carey. She did everything she needed to do at rehearsals," Bulochnikov also told ET. "Everything was fine at rehearsals. I don't think Mariah was deliberately set up to fail but they had major technical glitches. And their decision not to cut to commercial or cut the performance out of the West Coast feed is in a way sabotaging as they wanted a viral moment."
Although Dick Clark Productions initially had no comment, they issued a response on Sunday.
"As the premier producer of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists," the statement read. "To suggest that Dick Clark Productions, as producer of music shows including the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, New Year's Rockin' Eve and Academy of Country Music Awards, would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd."
"In very rare instances there are of course technical errors that can occur with live television, however, an initial investigation has indicated that Dick Clark Productions had no involvement in the challenges associated with Ms. Carey's New Year's Eve performance," the statement continued. "We want to be clear that we have the utmost respect for Ms. Carey as an artist and acknowledge her tremendous accomplishments in the industry."
Hear the latest update on Carey's performance fallout in the video below.