By Maurice Bobb
Leave it to TMZ to keep it real. After weeks of buildup about the war of words between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on the “American Idol” set that briefly shut down production during the show’s Charlotte, North Carolina, audition rounds, Fox chose to edit the fireworks down to a flicker.
On last night’s episode (January 23), it was revealed that the blowup began when Summer Cunningham, a 20-year-old contestant from Warner Robins, Georgia, made a comment to Keith Urban after singing “Lean On Me” about having already done “the country thing.” When Urban took offense, Carey and Randy Jackson debated Cunningham’s merit as a country singer. Annoyed, Minaj went on the offensive, warning her fellow panel judges against forcing the contestant into claiming country music as her chosen genre.
Things heated up between the YMCMB empress and the R&B diva, but the most incendiary comments, including this one by Minaj: “I told them, I’m not f—ing putting up with her f—ing highness over there,” were left out of the episode.
After storming off the set, Minaj returned after the commercial break to continue judging the parade of contestants singing for their ticket to Hollywood. It was evident, though, that there’s still no love lost between the dueling divas.
Back in November, when news of the fight first broke, Minaj told MTV News, “We’ve been fine,” when asked about how she and Carey have been getting along on the show since their verbal pyrotechnics.
For her part, Minaj chose to focus on helping the contestants realize their dream of becoming the next American Idol.
“We’ve seen some amazing, talented people and, you know, they’ve kind of just been a breath of fresh air ’cause you don’t know what lies ahead for them. You’re meeting them first; one of these people is gonna be a superstar very soon,” she said with a smile.