The fireworks between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey have failed to boost ratings for American Idol (16 million viewers tuned in on Wednesday, down 10 percent from the season premiere a week earlier), but the show's producers are doing nothing to discourage them. Quite the contrary. they allowed a seemingly minor eruption to shut down production of auditions in Charlotte North Carolina following a performance by 20-year-old contestant Summer Cunningham. With three of the judges discussing whether Summer wouldn't be better off performing country music, the other judge, Minaj, sat rolling her eyes over the remarks of her colleagues. Back on camera, Minaj remarked, For a minute, I thought it was, like, a country music debate. That led into a to-do during which much of what was said could not be discerned because the judges were talking over each other. When Minaj remarked that the judges wanted to paint contestants into a corner, Carey broke in, Really is that what I do? she asked. I'm sorry, it's just that that's what I do, Nicki. So when I'm making comments, I'm trying to help her, as opposed to just talk about her outfit. But Minaj insisted that the judges were attempting to intimidate her into accepting country music as her forte. I feel like you're trying to make her claim it, she said. A few minutes later, during a discussion after Cunningham left the stage, Randy Jackson commented that he and Mariah were there to use their experience in the business to offer a little help and insight to contestants, which caused Minaj to blow up. Oh, you're right, I'm sorry. I can't help her. Maybe I should just get off the f***ing panel. Which she did. But returned later.
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