Judges Nicki Minaj (R), Keith Urban and Mariah Carey listen
to a reporter's question at a Fox panel for the television
series 'American Idol' at the 2013 Winter Press Tour for
the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, California.
New "American Idol" judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj
shrugged off their widely publicized feud as a "trumped-up
thing" that was merely a passionate difference of opinion over
the TV talent show's contestants.
In their first big media appearance ahead of the hit show's
return to Fox television on January 16, the two pop stars
showered each other with praise while barely looking at each
A day after the airing of an ABC TV interview in which Carey
said she hired extra security following threats reportedly
made against her by Minaj last year, the "Hero" singer told
reporters it was time to focus on the aspiring "Idol" stars.
"This is a very passionate panel. There are a lot of strong
personalities," said Carey, who is reportedly being paid $18
million to be an "American Idol" judge.
"The fighting is what it is. This is 'American Idol.' It is
bigger than some stupid trumped-up thing. It's about the next
superstar ... The whole thing is convoluted. It's a
distraction from the show and the contestants," Carey said.
Minaj, an outspoken 30-year-old rapper, called Carey one of
her "favourite artists of all time."
"She has really shaped a generation of singers and to be on a
panel with her where (contestants) all aspire to be Mariah
Carey ... I feel excited to see them, see someone they look
up to so much," Minaj said.
Carey, 42, recalled working with Minaj in 2009 on an album
track, and knowing at the time that the rapper would be
"Nothing to write about now!" quipped "American Idol" host
REVIVING AGING 'IDOL' FORMAT
Carey, Minaj and country singer Keith Urban joined "Idol" as
judges in September for the upcoming 12th season after the
departures of Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven
Carey, with more than 200 million album sales, and Minaj, one
of the most exciting voices in rap, are expected to revive
the contest, which last year lost its eight-year crown as the
most-watched show on U.S. television to "Saturday Night
Football" on rival NBC.
Video of the pair arguing was leaked online from early
auditions in last fall, and Minaj was reported to have said,
"If I had a gun, I would shoot that bitch."
"American Idol" executive producer Trish Kinane said the new
panel was chosen after fans said they wanted to see judges
who were current and talented in their own right.
"They (fans) also wanted honesty, and we very much took that
into consideration. They (the judges) are not shrinking
violets. They say what they think, and we encourage that,"
"American Idol", which has produced stars like Kelly Clarkson
and Carrie Underwood, faces growing competition for TV
audiences from a slew of rivals like "The Voice," "The X
Factor," and "America's Got Talent." Last year, "Idol"
attracted under 20 million viewers, down from the more than
30 million who watched on a regular basis five or six years
But Mike Darnell, reality programming chief for Fox, said the
new panel had "re-invigorated the show."
"Yes, there are too many (talent) shows on the air and they
are all taking each other down a bit. But this is still the
king of the shows and the only one that makes stars," Darnell
Fox is a unit of News Corp.