Now in its 12th season, American Idol’s fresh judging panel—comprised of Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and the tenured Randy Jackson—is proving a bit cramped for the two formers’ sizeable egos. That being said, at least one of them is justified.
The differences between the two stars have been made abundantly clear with the diva dramatics surrounding their highly-publicized Idol feud. In a video released earlier this month, Minaj is seen cursing Carey out, saying, among other things, “I told them, I’m not fuckin’ putting up with her fuckin’ highness over there.” Some reports claim that Minaj threatened to knock her colleague out, and others say she even threatened to shoot her.
Carey has remained seemingly above it all, as if she can’t be bothered with the antics of a bubblegum hip-hop artist like Minaj. Even running to Barbara Walters and upping her security is read as a classy—albeit reliably dramatic—move.
Minaj responded to the feud by taking to Twitter. “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,” one tweet reads. “I don't call tmz n Barbara Walters cuz I stand on my own two feet,” read another tweet. Between her rant and tweets, Minaj comes off attention-starved and childish. Where’s she get off thinking she’s better than Carey?
Carey, 13 years Minaj’s senior, has been in the game since 1990. Her self-titled debut went platinum nine times and helped cement her as a major musical force. In the years since, she has sold over 200 million records worldwide, has won five Grammys, was named Billboard‘s Artist of the Decade for the 1990s, and has had 18 chart-topping singles—that’s more than any other musical act, save the Beatles.
Her gritty (and makeup-less!) performance in 2009’s Precious earned her critical acclaim throughout Hollywood, and her five-octave vocal stylings have indelibly influenced the likes of Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, and Beyoncé. In all, Carey is a mother, a wife, and an industry legend.
Minaj, on the other hand, pales in comparison. Yes, she has not been around as long as Carey, but the fact that Carey is still relevant 22 years in is a testament to her power and influence as a performer. Minaj has been a presence on the airwaves since 2009, but her two #1 studio records have failed to produce a #1 Billboard single. She has been nominated for—but has not won—three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, a title awarded to Carey in 1990.
Granted, the industry is a different monster than it was 20 years ago, and Minaj cannot be blamed for being a product of her time. Money in music is now earned with blockbuster singles, disposable talent, and auto-tune glitz. They simply don’t make divas like they used to.
As to who started the fight is anyone’s guess, but it has been widely speculated that the whole thing is a Fox-run publicity stunt for the floundering Idol, which recently fell victim to its lowest-rated finale to-date.
The industry may be saturated with singing competitions like never before, but Fox should learn to deal with its diva-saturated panel before looking for ratings, whether they admit there’s an issue or not.