Tonight’s 2 hour American Idol episode will land in Charlotte, North Carolina. So far, we’ve seen Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey snipe at each other in New York City and Chicago. But it’s in Charlotte where the resentment between the two divas boils over. Nicki walked off the set after a massive, ugly blowout with Mariah over a contestant. And as we all know, the heated exchange was filmed and leaked to TMZ.
Some of you have wondered why producers didn’t choose Chicago for the premiere episode last Wednesday. The talent was superior to what we saw in New York City–the episode thatt kicked off American Idol 12. But it’s not the talent that is driving the narrative here. It’s all about building an arc centered on the relationship between Nicki and Mariah and how fellow judges, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson react to that dynamic. Nicki and Mariah meet on shaky ground in New York. They take shots at each other in Chicago. And it all boils over in Charlotte. Poor even-tempered Keith is stuck in the middle. while Randy stays willfully oblivious to it all. (Remember, that he manages Mimi. Best to stay out of that mess).
I would not be surprised to see the fighting divas edited as if they come to some sort of reconciliation by the finish of the audition rounds. Divas fight. Divas make up. Now we can get on with it. A way of exploiting the situation, while also executing some damage control. I’ll be very surprised if things don’t play out exactly like that.
The downside? The focus is being pulled away from the contestants during this crucial phase of the competition. Fans begin falling in love with their favorites during the auditions. Nigel Lythgoe and company have to be really really careful NOT to forget the thing that makes American Idol so special. The talent!
I expect we’ll see what went down between Mariah and Nicki tonight and then some. I’ll be interested also to see what kind of impact the buzz around the incident has on the ratings.
Tomorrow night, the gang heads to Baton Rouge LA, hometown of Randy Jackson.