“American Idol” was set to address the fight last Fall that occurred in Charlotte, N.C., between new judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on Wednesday night’s show, but what ended up hitting the airwaves was a tame version of the spat, depleted of the swearing that prompted a flood of headlines back in October 2012.
As “Idol” watchers will recall, the original video, which was leaked on TMZ last year, appeared to show Nicki angrily taking on Mariah, tossing out curse words and accusing the superstar of “running down her resume every five minutes.”
What aired on FOX was not that portion of their disagreement, but instead, what seemed to be a look at what led up to the now infamous blow up, and it showed Randy Jackson was apparently more involved than previous headlines suggested.
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It was while blonde singer Summer Cunningham, 20, from Georgia, was answering questions about her style of music – questions that originated from the other new judge — Keith Urban — that seemed to start the dialogue that irritated Nicki.
“Where do you see yourself as a singer?” Keith asked, after Summer performed “Lean On Me.”
“I did the country thing. I’m more of a soulful country, maybe, is kind of what I have been doing,” she said.
Keith – a country superstar – was clearly a little irritated himself, by the young woman’s comments.
“Right,” he said. “I always get thrown when people say, ‘I did the country thing.’ I’m like, well, it’s like saying, ‘I did the brain surgeon thing.’ Either you’re a brain surgeon or you’re not.”
Randy then chimed in, letting Summer know she sounded like a country artist to his expert ears.
“Your voice naturally lends itself to country,” he said. “You have a yodel every time you sing. I could see you doing the country thing more than I could see you doing anything.”
The cameras then panned to Nicki, who was silent, and appeared disinterested in the conversation.
“When you said you did the country thing, Keith got mad,” Mariah piped up, with a giggle. “I was joking, but [I have a] question though, did you grow up listening to country music? Do you love it? Is it your passion?”
Summer then backtracked a little bit, telling the judges, “I grew up singing all sorts of stuff, but whenever I decided to pursue music, it was country music. I loved country music as well.”
Randy, Mariah and Keith all said they would vote the young woman through to the Hollywood round, and at that point, Nicki sat up from her chair with something to say.
“Thank you because for a minute I thought it was like a country music debate,” she said, as the panel laughed, clearly not aware that Nicki was annoyed at their country conversation.
“I mean, why are we like picking her apart, like, because of a country comment? You guys make comments about everybody in the pop, in popular music, all day, non-stop,” Nicki said.
Asked to clarify who she meant by “you guys,” Nicki mentioned Randy and Mariah.
The pair quickly defended themselves, with everyone talking over each other.
“What we’re almost actually doing is like scaring her into lying,” Nicki said. “She said what she said, she has every right to say that and feel that.”
Mariah defended asking the young woman about whether her musical passion was country, and Randy stood his ground too.
As Summer left the room, confident she got through to Hollywood (although she clearly was uncomfortable standing there as the dispute first unfolded), Randy said to her (but likely more for Nicki), “Just trying to help you a little bit – 30 years – a little help, a little insight.”
“Oh you’re right, I’m sorry, I can’t help. Maybe I should just get off this [expletive] panel,” Nicki said.
Mariah took a sip of her drink as Randy continued to defend himself, and Nicki got up to leave the room.
“Every word that she said was a yodel. What do you think that fits in?” he asked.
“Let me get off the panel,” Nicki said.
“Nicki’s mad, she’s walking out,” Randy stated.
“That was my move. I was gonna do that the next time she ragged on me,” Mariah said.
Off camera, Nicki’s mic was still on.
“Shut the f*** up,” she appeared to say, adding, “Finish the show! I’m done.”
When the tape of the argument first leaked last fall, Nicki was said to be angry at Mariah – not Randy – for citing her accomplishments during the judging process.
“I’m not sitting here for 20 minutes and having you run down your resume everyday. No! Goodbye,” she said, according to TMZ.
“Listen … I can’t see my kids because you decided to make … to have … to have a little baby fit and going all around the stage,” Mariah seemed to reply in the leaked video.