FOX Honcho Says More Idol Drama To Come Tonight, Plus Ratings Spin and More

If you LOVED last night’s Nicki Minaj/Mariah Carey catfight, you’re in luck! FOX reality honcho, Mike Darnell, tells Entertainment Weekly that tensions between the two divas INTENSIFY tonight during the Chicago audition episode:  Via Entertainment Weekly

“People said the passion between the two girls was invented,” Fox’s reality chief Mike Darnell tells EW. “It’s obviously real. That’s an interesting dynamite that we haven’t seen on one of these [singing competition] shows before.” And the sparring won’t be confined to Carey vs. Minaj. The panel drama “ramps up” for all the judges, he says. “All I can say is that tonight things get even more interesting.”

Darnell calls tonight’s audition with stuttering contestant, Lazaro Arbos, American Idol’s “Susan Boyle moment.” Hm.

When the Idol auditions hit Charlotte next week, Darnell would not reveal whether portions of the profanity-laced leaked tape of the Nicki/Mariah blowout will be used on the show, only that viewers should expect a “very interesting” episode.

As far as Idol’s double digit ratings dip compared to last season’s premiere? Darnell is “relieved.”

“The numbers were exactly our expectations,” he says. “Everything [on broadcast] is down; it could have been worse. It’s still standing very tall considering the competitiveness.”

There’s a new dynamic on our panel that people seem to really like … not to mention we got some really good talent coming. I think we’re going to cut the [ratings] deficit over time.”

“The needle is not moved by the name of the judge but how they perform on the show,” Darnell concludes. “And these guys are performing incredible. Some years you don’t have anything to talk about it. Sometimes you have a lot of word of mouth and I think that’s what’s going on. You can feel it. There’s a lot of buzz in the air.”

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  • Incipit

    There are a few times a year that I briefly wish I had a Twitter account  – this is one of them – so I could tweet “Yuck” at Mr. ‘So Proud Of This BS’ Darnell…just to register an objection.

    But since TPTB are determined to spread this crap around on Idol, it’s just easier not to watch…since I usually skip auditions anyway.

  • Li Wright

    Well let’s look at this.  These are MEN executives and they know when you put TWO divas, high powered female “stars” in the same room, there’s going to be explosives….remember Paula & Kara?  They didn’t cat fight, but there was that one-upmanship between the two even though they were friends.  This was purposeful, putting Mariah with Nikki and the outcomes were expected.  Mariah signed on to be the ONLY woman, and FOX backstabs her with a Nikki add.  Figure it out.

    Let me add — it must pain Mariah who’s been in the business for like 25 hours, to see a new comer like Nikki who arrived about 5 years ago, in the same capacity and status as she is.

  • fantoo1

    It certainly makes the tired/stale auditions a little more interesting!

    I think if the judges weren’t changed this season, the premiere would have seen a 25-30% dip.

  • rbidol

    It is really sad that the these celebrities allows themselves to perpetuate the worst stereotypes about women being unable to work with other women. Paula was always cold toward Kara, Britney and Demi hardly interacted, and now we have flat-out catfights among co-workers! Maybe someone should tell these “divas” that in the real world women work together successfully every day without having to one-up and tear-down other women.

    Somewhere it has been said that Mariah is showing herself to be very insecure…I agree. Nikki has, in fact, genuinely praised her, but Mariah can’t seem to stand the idea of a younger artist also being praised or sharing the limelight. Even when asked to say something she liked about Nikki, Mariah praised her own collaboration with her! You would think that someone like Mariah Carey would know that her status is already cemented, and that it takes nothing away from her when she is generous toward younger singers. One wonders whether she can really be a good judge if she is that insecure about her own success; does she really want to find a new star, or just make herself visible? It is just a reminder that it takes a lot more than money or worldly success to actually have peace and confidence.

  • Kariann Hart

    I don’t mind geniune tension, but scripted or phoney drama is not my cuppa of tea.  What went on between Paula and Kara was tolerable, sometimes humorous.  Some people don’t want to see bitc-ness throughout the season.  Idol needed  three great judges for this season.  I hope this isn’t a failure with four judges!

  • MissMyEm

    I guess Darnell thinks the ratings will go up more with bigger catfights.  Idol, IMO, has always scripted things to their (in their mind, at least) advantage.   I am certain that many of the judges’ comments in the past were scripted as well.  For me, this is old.  I don’t like reality shows where there are fights or when some contestants bad mouth other contestants.   So the thrill is gone.
    It’s a shame.  I thought the show was so much fun in Season 1, but it started to spiral downward in Season 2.  It would take me 6 more years to really get fed up with the shenanigans on the show.  Or maybe I’m getting older and stuff like this has become intolerable.
    Either way…if it floats your boat, Darnell…go for it.  Whatever will be will be.  I don’t really care.   I like to watch shows for talent.  Nothing else.

  • RomtubBuiel

    If i saw Mike Darnell drowning in a lake, I’d save him, but regrettably so.  That damn goblin man is the main person holding is back from what Idol could be.  He is the man that stands behind The Dawg Randy Crapson.  He is the one that allowed XFactor to be excreted all over my TV set.  I hate the decisions he has made for Fox’s reality efforts. 

    Thanks for all those ‘beautiful’ year of Steve Tyler there Mike Darnell.  I’ll dance and sing the day you get fired by whatever Murdoch scion is disinterred that week.

  • Katie’s Uvula

     “Let me add — it must pain Mariah who’s been in the business for like 25
    hours, to see a new comer like Nikki who arrived about 5 years ago, in
    the same capacity and status as she is.”

    LMAOO I think Mariah has been in the biz longer than 25 HOURS, @facebook-100001622678180:disqus

  • SullyD

     I’m always looking forward to seeing you use a new way to say that Mariah should be the only judge on the panel.
    This is not a dig, I genuinely find this amusing :P

  • MaxxS

    More people watched ncis , a show I never watched and is also an old show that’s been on for a long time- than idol.

  • H.A.

    I hope tonight is better than last night because I was bored. I didn’t feel the chemistry at all with the judges and the show feels like it will be more of the same.

  • MaxxS

    2 women done have to fight.. If mariah wanted to make sure she was the only woman, r that should’ve been a clause in her contact… Why it wasn’t I can’t figure out. Maybe ask her manager Randy Jackson

  • MaxxS

    The auditions are the most boring and predictable part of the show . Ir’s never changed and the atrocious singers are an old tried schtick. Whether they are there on purpose to get attention or get humiliated by uncle Nigel.. Viewers don’t like it… We want singers.. We want to find the next Carrie or Kelly (you can’t keep telling in contestants from the last decade.. You’re know n now for wgwg who haven’t become superstars)..

  • MaxxS

    I miss the old Maria who really sang beautifully and showed off her range. Recent years it has been hup hip that sounds like whispering s an d nothing like the music that were her biggest hits

  • Li Wright

    LMAOO I think Mariah has been in the biz longer than 25 HOURS, 
    ^^ Thank you, I meant 25 yrs….typo.

  • girlygirltoo

    Mike Darnell obviously thinks the viewers actually care about the drama among the judges. Wrong. Unless the contestants are good and can generate buzz, the ratings will continue to fall. The judges should not be the focus of the show! *sigh*

  • sweetmm

    Pretty sad that they are actively selling the judges instead of the talents :(

  • Kesia Monteith

    Yeah, kinda disappointed that they are actively going this route. But I don’t even blame the show, it’s Fox who are meddling more than ever. I think Nigel has lost complete control over the show. Mike Darnell does not care about the objective of the show. He is desperate because X-Factor turned out poor, and not a lot of their programming is doing great, since the network is only above CW in ratings. So Fox is trying not to lose out to a boring network like CBS.

    I told y’all I hate Fox :(

  • sweetmm

    I think I’ll give it a miss tonight and read recaps here and watch the snippets on youtube.  Both the catfight and exploiting the stuttering boy makes me cringe; I do not enjoy such blatant “display for ratings”.  I preferred yesterdays’ handling of the semi-deaf lady; more classy.

  • glitter12

    “There’s a lot of buzz in the air.”

    Here we go again. All about the judges just to get people to watch. What about the contestants?? So sorry the buzz is about such childish behavior.
    Hope to hear some good singing tonight!

  • glitter12

    “There’s a lot of buzz in the air.”

    Here we go again. Too bad the buzz is about such childish behavior. Shouldn’t it be about the contestants? Hoping to hear some great singing tonight!

  • Susan Long

     What were you thinking, when you asked Nikki to be on the show?  My 11 year old could do better than her.  She needs to go back to kindergarden.  She can never or will never outshine Mariah!!!!

  • curly_yenta

    Nikki has such an friggin’ annoying whiney nasely voice, it gives me a friggin’ migrane.  Wow, why is she there anyway and what the heck does she know about singing?  She might as well be judging a spelling bee.

  • Karen C

    I too hate that the in fighting is being featured on the show. I’m finding Nicki Minaj to be very annoying, I don’t like her accents, and at times it seems like she is mocking the contestants to me. At least Mariah takes it seriously.

  • patriciajames

    It’s pretty obvious — most everyone who is coming into the room is gushing over Mariah and how they loved her all these years, the cameras are on her, yada yada yada and Nikki is trying to get some attention too.  “Yew Hew — I’m a star too.”  Just read her body language when Mariah is getting the WOW treatment from a starstruck contestant.

  • ladymctech

    I enjoyed Thursday night’s episode more than Wednesday’s, but it may be because more decent people were put through last night than the night before. It had little bearing on the quantity or level of cat fighting among the judges.

  • skywitch72

    After having watched Idol from its inception, I’m passing on this year.  I watched about 10 minutes of the Wednesday show and changed the channel.  I like Keith, and Nikki is okay, but I don’t like Mariah at all–never have.  So that’s it for me.