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.
Read more: Popular Critic