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American Idol’s Long Awaited Nicki/Mariah Smackdown Fizzles

For American Idol followers, last night was the big night. For months, the show has been building promotional momentum by teasing a rivalry between judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Allegedly, the tension between the two stemmed from an incident at the Charlotte auditions–footage of which finally aired last night.

However, what did we see was not a diva smackdown, but rather a middle school squabble.

It was clear from premiere week Nicki won’t be getting an invite to Mariah’s penthouse anytime soon. Carey clearly seems to think she’s above the show, a fact that isn’t helped by contestants fawning over her whenever they enter the room, and Nicki’s attitude is tired of playing second riddle to Mariah’s ego.

However, their “big” blowout actually had to do with a contestant. Idol hopeful Summer Cunningham auditioned, singing the song, “Lean on Me.”  While Summer was clearly talented, delivering soulful, country-tinged vocals, she couldn’t quite identify what genre of music she belonged in. This bothered Mariah and Randy (who is Carey’s long-time producer so his allegiance is clear), but Nicki disagreed–and threw the first punch.

“Why are we picking her apart?” Nicki spat at Mariah.

“Really? Is that what I did?” responded Carey. “We’re trying to help her as opposed to just talk about her outfit.” Clearly, Mariah hit where it hurt, as Nicki had been discussing  nearly every contestant’s appearance down to their eyeshadow.

Mariah’s comment sent Nicki into a fit. “Oh, you’re right. I’m sorry I can’t help her. Maybe I should just get off the panel,” she said, as she stormed off set….and that was that. The filming ended early that day and the contestants started again the next. Not exactly worth the hype.

However, Idol producers chose not to air the footage that was floating around the internet last summer when auditions were filmed. Partial footage of the fight leaked online, allegedly causing Mariah Carey to increase security.

The infamous TMZ video from Charlotte features a few juicier soundbites than what we got last night. In the TMZ footage, Minaj has a few choice words for Carey before her walk out.   “I’m gonna knock you out!” then turned her attention to producers and yelled, “I told them, I’m not f*ckin’ putting up with her f*ckin’ highness over there.”

Maybe Idol producers chose not to air the footage because it was unauthorized, but what they did deliver was more a jab than a knock out.

Hopefully the live shows will be a bit more interesting.

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