Michael Becker / FOX
Michael Becker / FOX
Don't believe the hype: American Idol hasn't turned into a battle of the divas.
No sooner had the reality competition's new judges' panel been made official than rumors began circulating that Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were already feuding. But the two chart-toppers were quick to deny the claims during a Sunday press conference in New York City, where the first round of auditions for the Fox hit's 12th season was underway.
"It's been two days!" Carey exclaimed. "A feud takes a little longer than two days!"
Minaj readily backed up her fellow newbie judge. "[We're] getting along wonderfully, darling," said the colorful hip-hop phenom.
Lone returning judge Randy Jackson claimed that if anyone was disagreeing, it was he and fellow long-timer Ryan Seacrest. "The problem I'm having is Ryan keeps wanting to try and have a seat at the judges table," Jackson joked. "I don't know what's going to happen with that."
Further proof that the newly installed panel is getting along famously? The whole gang, including country superstar Keith Urban, recently sat down together for a harmonious dinner. "Last night, we had a couple salads, a little calamari and a little kale," Seacrest shared with us.
But it seems healthy fare wasn't all that was on the menu. "Mariah started telling me about how she went to beauty school and how she wants to put color in my hair," Seacrest said. "And she was very serious."
Urban, a man who needs no help in the good-hair department, admitted he was giddy about his new gig. "I'm just grateful I get to do it," he told us. "I'm grateful that they asked me. The show has certainly produced some great country artists already so it just seems fitting."
Many an Idol hopeful in the past has tried—and failed—to tackle a song from Carey's catalogue, and Mimi herself sees no reason why they should stop now. "They can sing anything that moves them," she said.
She was less certain about what kind of judge she'd turn out to be. "I have to figure it out," she said. "I want to be honest and someone that the contestants can look to for guidance. Am I 'the mean one'? Am I 'the nice one'? I am me.
"[But] it's not about me, me, me," she added. "It's about [the contestants] and what I can bring to them to sort of help guide them in the right direction."
According to Seacrest, the upcoming season has the potential to be one of the veteran singing competition's best, despite increased competition from fellow musical entries The Voice and The X Factor. "It's always exciting to start a new season, but I'm especially excited [this year]," he told us. "I think we ended up with a powerful, diverse, colorful, knowledgeable group of judges. Now that we've got four, it's going to make the circus even more fun."
You can judge for yourself when Idol's new season premieres in January.