Mariah Carey increased security after Nicki Minaj argument on 'American Idol'
Mariah Carey told Barbara Walters in a recent interview that she hired extra security following last year's expletive-filled confrontation with rapper Nicki Minaj at the judges' table on "American Idol."
The two made their debut on the FOX singing contest series last year as part of a casting shakeup and the season 12 premiere, the first episode showing them with fellow new co-judge Keith Urban, is set to air on the network on January 16.
In October 2012, the website TMZ, whose daily TV show airs mainly on FOX affiliate stations, posted a video of Minaj and Carey arguing at the judges' table during a taping of auditions in Charlotte, North Carolina. Minaj hurls expletives at the singer. FOX had no comment on the video.
Barbara Walters later said on the daytime show "The View" that Carey claimed multiple people heard Minaj say, "If I had a gun, I would shoot the b----" following her expletive-filled rant. The rapper has denied saying such a thing. Walters recently interviewed Carey, just ahead of the return of "American Idol." Her interview is set to air on ABC's "Nightline" on Monday, January 1 at 11:35 p.m. ET
The singer, who shares a twin son and daughter with husband Nick Cannon, told Walters: "It felt like an unsafe work environment. Anytime anybody's reeling threats at somebody, you know, that's just ... it's not appropriate."
"Sitting there on the road with two babies, I'm not going to take any chances, so yeah, I did hire more security," she said.
Minaj has not responded to the singer's remarks and maintains her previous stance about the matter, according to ABC News.
"Mariah expected to be the only female judge on 'American Idol,' which stars its 12th season in two weeks, and the next thing she knew, Nicki Minaj was added as a judge," Walters told ABC News. "So they had an argument over something. Mariah said she felt threatened."
"Look, I'm doing this show, this is fun, but it's not my life," Carey told Walters. "For all the drama, I hope it helps the show," Carey said. "I think it's a classic, classy show and it didn't need this."
Ratings for "American Idol" have fallen since its 2002 debut. Peak ratings were recorded in 2007, when more than 37.4 million people watched the season six premiere. More than 21.9 million watched last year's season 11 premiere. Still, the show, which typically airs twice a week, has consistently won its time slots.
Walters also asked Carey to confirm a rumor that says she was paid $18 million per "American Idol" season. It is unclear how many she had signed on for.
"I think we're in the ballpark," Carey said, declining to elaborate.
Minaj told "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM radio show in November that she is open to the idea of performing with Carey, despite reports of a possible feud, and that the judges had "chemistry." She also said she is "scared" of watching her big debut on the show, adding that she may have been less than kind towards some of the contestants.
"American Idol" has been lacking a "mean" judge since Simon Cowell left the series in 2011 to launch a similar show, "The X Factor," which also airs on FOX. Randy Jackson remains the sole original member of the judges' panel, following the departure of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who ended a two-year stint in May.