American Idol, Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj

Michael Becker / FOX

Ryan Seacrest is no stranger to playing referee on American Idol. (Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell—holla!)

Those diplomatic skills are sure coming in handy these days after video surfaced Tuesday of an epic cuss-fest involving Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey during Idol auditions in Charlotte, N.C.

(Cliffs Notes version: Minaj wails about someone's "f--king problem"; Carey points Minaj toward the door.)

Enter Seacrest, who addressed the blowup on his radio show Wednesday and busted out his best U.N. Peacekeeper bona fides.

"It got heated between Nicki and Mariah," he admitted, before adding, "There's nothing wrong with disagreeing, and that's gonna happen, and that's OK."

But the ever-affable host, who noted that he was outside the judging room when the spat erupted, made sure to keep a fair and level-headed perspective on the verbal scuffle.

"These are all very different individuals with different perspective and different opinion that provide for interesting conversation and dialogue and feedback for the contestants," he tactfully explained. "Each one of those members of the panel this year is an essential ingredient to the sum of the show."

But wait—didn't Nicki just give props to Mariah and call her a "legend"?

That doesn't mean things didn't get nutty inside that North Carolina audition room.

"It was intense, I'll be honest with you," he copped. "And it was towards the end of the day, and there were just a few contestants to be seen...So it did get intense, and we did wrap after it."

Indeed, a source close to the show confirms to E! News that the divas' tiff is more than just a convenient publicity stunt to boost the show's sagging ratings.

Steven Tyler's down for an Idol reduxbut not as a judge

"It's real," insists the source, noting that although the conflict may make for "good TV," it's proving to be a "nightmare" for showrunner Nigel Lythgoe and his team.

At least Carey's hubby, Nick Cannon, has found a way to make light of the fracas: During an appearance on Access Hollywood Wednesday morning, he gamely participated in a table reading of a transcript of the throwdown.

To echo the inimitable Seacrest, we can only say: Now this is American Idol.

—Reporting by Ken Baker

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.