American Idol: Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj Talk Judging Panel Disagreements: "We Have to Go Against Each Other"

Exclusive! E! News chatted with Carey, Minaj, Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest about the season 12 premiere of the Fox reality hit

By Tierney Bricker Jan 14, 2013 4:55 PMTags
American Idol, Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki MinajMichael Becker / FOX

Two days until the most highly anticipated new show of 2013 premieres!

OK, so American Idol has been around for a long time, but you would never know it judging by the sheer anticipation for the season 12 premiere, which is the debut for the show's revamped judging panel. New judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban join returning judge Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest for the Fox hit's new season, which has received a lot of buzz thanks to Carey and Minaj's now-infamous feud, but will viewers see the two ladies perform on stage together? 

E! News chatted with Carey, Minaj, Jackson and Seacrest at the show's premiere about the new season, disagreements on the judging panel and whether or not all four judges will perform on stage together by season's end...

Watch: "American Idol" Judges Sound Off

While Minaj recently said it was easy for her to say no to contestants during auditions, she admits it got a lot harder for her during Hollywood Week. "The human side of you comes out eventually, when you're looking at people that are this close to fulfilling their dream and in their head they have already seen it come to fruition, so saying no, it's like a dagger."

Carey says that each judge had contestants they were rooting for, which sometimes led to, um, conflict at the judges' table. "We have to go against each other sometimes to say, 'But wait, this person has something amazing! Maybe you're not seeing it. It's a little bit beyond your comprehension at this moment, but there's something great about this person.'"

Though it may shock people, Minaj says the four judges do agree on a lot of the talent. "We're also unanimous about a lot of great people that are here! We're excited about the people that are here right now. We all feel that they're above average in talent and personality."

There's been a lot of talk about American Idol's last five winners all being male, but Jackson believes this season may just end that streak. "I will say, to me the girls are the strongest though."  Seacrest then jokingly asks him, "The panel or the contestants? Strong women all-around!" Minaj's response? "Both, duh!"

Randy says, "You never know," while Minaj says the four judges have all appeared on stage together already: "When Mariah brought out gifts for all of the contestants! We were on stage together." Carey adds, "A Santa Claus was pulling out the gifts. Technically we were on stage together!"

To hear more about Season 12, including changes to the format, watch our interview with Carey, Minaj, Jackson and Seacrest above!

American Idol's new season premieres Jan. 16 on Fox.

Nicki and Mariah are fashion frenemies!