So, just how much do Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj actually despise each other? We won’t be able to judge that for ourselves until American Idol‘s 12th season premieres next week — but in the meantime, there’s Carey’s new interview with Barbara Walters, which touches on the Mariah/Nicki feud.
A brief recap of the conflict: Mariah Carey had a vision of love — and a vision of herself as American Idol‘s only female judge. So when Fox invited Nicki Minaj to serve on the show’s new judging panel as well, there was some immediate friction between the two musicians — although both Carey and Minaj rejected rumors of bad blood. (“How can you feud in two days?” Carey joked shortly after the judging panel was made official. “I think a feud takes a little longer [to build.”)
Then TMZ released a video of Nicki cursing out Mariah during an Idol audition in North Carolina. Walters discussed the explosive clip on The View, saying that Carey had told her things got even more heated once the cameras were off. Specifically: Minaj supposedly said, “If I had a gun, I would shoot that f—ing bitch.” Mariah responded by reportedly hiring extra security. President Obama and Stevie Nicks got involved. Nicki accused Walters of taking Mariah’s side “because I’m a little black girl that raps.” It was, in sort, a Class-A fustercluck.
When Walters asks Carey about the whole brouhaha, the singer defends her actions in a calm, rational way: “It felt like an unsafe work environment,” she says. “Anytime anybody’s reeling threats at somebody, you know, that’s just — it’s not appropriate. I’ve got two babies; I’m not going to take any chances. Yeah, I did hire more security. I just felt it was the appropriate thing to do.”
And though Walters indicates at the end of the segment that Carey and Minaj have since made nice, the interview itself doesn’t offer much to support that statement. At one point, Walters brings up “Hell Yeah,” a Nicki Minaj single that includes lyrics seemingly aimed at Mariah (“I’ll take it, sign on the dotted line/But I’m quick to check a bitch if she outta line.”) Carey says cagily that she doesn’t know if she’s the target of those lyrics, then adds dismissively, “I didn’t know she sang. I thought she rapped, or whatever.” You can practically feel the repressed eye roll.
Watch the interview for yourself here — and feel free to skip to 3:20 for the juicy stuff.