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American Idol Debuts With Anticipated Antics From Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj

Last night marked the anticipated Season 12 premiere of American Idol, with new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and veteran Randy Jackson.   Predictably, one in particular was hogging attention from producers and fans alike. Idol literally rolled out the red carpet for Carey, who does happen to be the best-selling female artist of all time.

This week’s episode focused on the audition kickoff in New York City last summer. One by one, the New York Idol wannabes paid homage to Carey, whose melismatic vocal stylings have inspired a generation of young singers to wail for their dreams—and  she ate  up the attention as if it were fed to her in a diamond-encrusted spoon.

When a contestant sang  Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”, she delightedly replied “It sure was! It still is darling” to an eye-roll from Minaj.  As if we needed reminding, Carey’s diva delusion rivals no one. “You’re having a lavender moment I really like” she said to a contestant wearing a purple turban, before requesting something from producers for her “parched” mouth.

Indeed there was an element of expectation fulfillment to the Idol premiere that Fox didn’t quite deliver with The X Factor last fall. On X Factor, highly-anticipated judge Britney Spears remained in a sluggish monotone on Prozac lockdown—far from outspoken, pink wig-wearing, frappuccino-slurping persona producers wanted.

On Idol, however, all judges played their parts impeccably—Mariah was only filmed from the right side, Nicki popped off, Keith Urban looked happy to be there, and Randy Jackson out-dawged even himself.

The premiere also showed the first signs of tensions between Minaj and Carey, whose reported  feud  has been attracting media buzz since the auditions were taped last summer.

Partial footage of the fight leaked online last fall, adding credence to rumors of tension between the two.  The video was captured during auditions held in Charlotte, North Carolina. According to sources, Nicki and Mariah disagreed over a contestant’s performance and the former lost her cool with a shaken Keith Urban caught in the middle.

“I’m gonna knock you out!” said the “Super Bass” rapper directly to Carey, who responded by beefing up her security.

Yet, apparently tensions have now cooled between the two–at least until the live shows start later this Spring. The rap star admitted to Ellen DeGeneres this week that she regretted behaving in such an over the top way. “I don’t know if she’s gotten over it but I have,” said Minaj. Carey has yet to comment.

No word on whether Nicki will drop a Glitter reference to really get under Mariah’s skin. The Season 12 premiere of American Idol continues tonight on Fox at 8:00 PM EST.

American Idol New York auditions:

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