Dueling divas? The new-look "American Idol" judges panel met with reporters Tuesday morning and tried to squash the perception that Season 12 will turn into a steel-cage match between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.
"The whole thing is convoluted," said Carey of the much-talked about tension between her and the hip-hop artist. "It's a distraction from the show and from the contestants. It's unfair to them."
During their appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour, there were naturally several questions about the verbal tirade that erupted between Minaj and Carey during an audition session in October and whether there will be any fallout during the season.
Producers reminded journalists that there always has been "passion" among the judges when it comes to endorsing the contestants they admire, and Randy Jackson, the lone veteran judge on the panel, recalled a time when he and Simon Cowell "almost had a go."
At one point, a reporter asked the women how they settled their differences and Minaj joked that "I put out my sex tape."
Carey said, "the fighting is what it is."
"I feel like we have a very passionate panel with a lot of strong personalities," she said. "Starting out, I felt there were going to be differences of opinions. ... (But) this is 'American Idol.' It's bigger than all that. It's bigger than some trumped-up thing."
During the media conference, a reporter playfully asked the divas, who were sitting with fellow rookie judge Keith Urban between them, to say something nice about each other.
"I say nice things about Mariah all the time," Minaj replied. "She's one of my favorite artists of all time. She's really shaped a generation of singers."
Carey, mentioned how the two worked together years ago on a video and song "ironically" called "Up Out of My Face."
"I felt like she was going to go far," Carey recalled.
But what about that verbal catfight?"It was sort of one-sided," Carey said.
"No it wasn't," Minaj responded, provoking plenty of laughter from the reporters.