‘American Idol’: The Mariah Carey Vs. Nicki Minaj Fight Was Over “The Country Thing”

Lisa Timmons | January 24, 2013 5:09 am

We’re in Charlotte, North Carolina and Ryan Seacrest likes piña coladas.

Nicki Minaj is in a bright pink cotton candy wig that Krusty the Clown’s wife might wear.

The first contestant is Naomi Morris, who “loves fashion because it allows her to expose express herself.” She’s wearing a bra from the Selena/Lady GaGa collection. She walks in and all anyone thinks is “boobs.”

Nicki looks threatened at first, but then warms up to her and gives her what I like to call a Nicki-name. Mariah Carey  is a vision of love in a green dress and already looks mildly annoyed by Nicki-Nick. “Omi” belts “Respect” and then “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” While Naomi’s rendition has volume, her voice, unlike her voluminous chest, is completely flat.

And so it begins …

Keith Urban is showing off serious man cleavage. Did you know he has a tattoo on his chest? Duly noted.

Goofball Joel is 20 and almost kills himself by jumping off a brick ledge. I am already worried. Cut to David Foster telling a boring story about Andrea Bocelli. Hence, Joel’s thing is lying on the ground while singing. I’m happy because it looks safer than him singing on a brick ledge.

Joel checks his watch before walking in, prompting teasing from the panel. Joel remarks that Nicki’s wig looks like cotton candy and I instantly feel we are soul mates. He can’t stop laughing. He’s clearly going to suck but is enjoying the ride. He dances like a man possessed and doesn’t flinch when Nicki asks, “Can I call you Jumanji?” He sings “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble but doesn’t start until he lays completely flat on the ground. We get to see up his nostrils. Mariah looks skeptical, but you know she’s going home and trying this later.

Joel is crazy, but loving life. Mariah’s thing is saying, “It’s maybe not your thing.” It’s a resounding no. Joel bows multiple times on the way out, prompting Harajuku girl,Nicki to ask, “Have you ever lived in Tokyo?”

Brian Rittenberry is from Jasper, Georgia and guess what y’all, I’ve been there. Yeah, I know. It’s a great story. He has a sad story about his wife’s struggle with cancer. This is accompanied by a photo montage of his family. I shouldn’t be watching this alone. Thankfully, there’s a surprise happy ending.

Brian sings all the time and is as precious as a member of the Country Bear Jamboree. He gushes that his wife is a big Keith Urban fan before bursting into a husky-voiced audition and I rejoice because I love me some smooth, soulful southern voices! I sob uncontrollably as he belts “Let It Be.” It’s good, but I’m also very fragile at the moment, guys. Let me be.

Brian gets a yes and his wife gets to meet Keith Urban. She starts to cry and Keith is giving out hugs like perfume samples. I am so sad I’m not there.

Cut to the judges. Keith is being cute and giving Nicki snacks. I love Keith.

Next up is Jimmy Smith, a 25-year-old social worker who looks like a Venice beach bum from Tennessee and confesses that Keith is a huge inspiration to him. Umm hmm. He sings “Bless The Broken Road” by Rascall Flatts. He has a modern country voice and Nicki loves it.

Keith compliments him and Jimmy makes eyes at him. Can you blame him? Keith is so sweet. I want him to give me snacks. Mariah “Green Screen” Carey gives a cute “Yeeeeep” and I realize Honey Angel watches Storage Wars.

Montage of people who are going to Hollywood!

Who is letting Ryan Seacrest behind the wheel of a Nascar? He is a national treasure, people. He should be placed on blue velvet and be carried around in a giant glass globe. Well, maybe a medium-sized globe.

Matthew wears a cowboy hat and is very intense. His thing is spinning around in slow motion and looking like he’s been up all night snorting pixie sticks. Before Matthew sings, he does some preparatory Lamaze breathing. I burst into laughter when he lifts his arms like a loon while singing the lyrics, “spread my wings and fly.” The judges’ reaction (or I should say, the lack thereof) is an exercise in restraint. They all deserve gold stars.

Nicki politely says he could be a model and somewhere, Tyra Banks feels a shiver running up and down her spine.

In Alpharetta, Georgia, Randy Jackson surprises Isabel Gonzalez while looking like a chunky Lil’ Wayne in his red sneaks and skinny black pants. Isabel is quite possibly the most adorable high schooler in the world, who resembles a teenage American Girl doll. I want her for Christmas.

Isabel auditions with Sam Cooke‘s “Nothing Could Ever Change This Love.” She sings well, but more than that, she’s the cutest. She gets a yes and Mariah wants to shove her into her womb. Anyone whose eyes disappear when they smile is my favorite, so I concur.

I now want to make Mariah singing “Hollywood” my new text message alert sound.

Ooh, tease of the infamous storm-off! All this build-up.

Taisha is a cute rocker girl and is both tomboyish and adorable. They’re using the good camera to do her back story so we know she’s going to Hollywood. She’s in an alternative rock band with four boys. Taisha sings “Folsom Prison” by Johnny Cash and then does does “You Oughtta Know” by Alanis Morissette. Her version is unique and her vibe reminds me of that red-headed singer in Paramore.

The first major rumblings between the ladies emerge. Taisha makes it by the skin of her teeth and her band run in to group hug her. Cute. A montage of the judges disagreeing. They’re clearly getting cranky and hungry. Here comes the big spat!

A slight blonde walks in and her name is Summer. She does a country-ish version of “Lean On Me.” Nicki likes her and likes her voice. Summer describes herself as “soulful country.”

Keith doesn’t like that she said, “I did the country thing,” and tells her so. Randy says she has a yodel. Mariah also didn’t like the “did the country thing,” comment. She wants to know if Summer grew up listening to country music and Nicki is clearly getting angry at the genre-defining convo.

Poor Summer clearly regrets the country comment and does her best not to run out of the room screaming. Even though everyone says yes, Nicki is annoyed.  She retorts, “For a minute, I thought it was a country music debate.” She feels bad for the girl and is pissed at Mariah and Randy for nitpicking. She has a point, but mostly, I think they all need to take a nap and drink less Coke.

Meanwhile, Summer is going to need therapy after this. I’m sure she can’t wait to see the gang again in Hollywood.

Nicki storms off the panel for a break. Mimi jokes that was going to be her move. Watching her sip on her Coke and delicately adjust her hair, I can see her mentally pressing “Play” on the Mean Girls DVD that she had surgically implanted into her brain.


Melodramatic montage about the fight on the news. Slow-mo of Mariah and Nicki re-entering the building post-Super Fight-3000. This is hilarious. Idol is acting like there’s been a death. Perhaps, Summer’s innocence? Or mine? Keith is in mourning in a fitted black tee. Nicki dons one of her trademark captain’s hats.

Meanwhile, the contestants are terrified. Navy reservist Brandy bears the responsibility of being the first contestant of the day. She sings “All I could Do is Cry” by Etta James. She starts off OK but gets better as she goes on. I think everyone was just happy to laugh again.

Randy and Mimi are conspicuously separated on opposite ends of the panel. Mimi’s quote for the night emerges as, “It was actually pippity-pow.” Everybody says yes because they’re all tired of fighting. As Brandy receives the news, she hurriedly tells the panel, “Please don’t fight. It makes us sad,” before rushing out. That is kind of the sweetest thing. When Nicki and Mariah fight, America loses.

Bring on the contestants!

Mariah makes a joke about a guy with cartoon-y hat and immediately apologizes to Nicki, who is the poster child for crazy hats. Nicki laughs and everyone’s trying to make nice.

Ashley is a chatty girl with a blonde wig, thick black glasses and a whole lot of personality. Her montage is amazing. I feel like she’s been eating cupcakes all morning and downing them with espresso.

Mariah looks straight-up horrified. Ashley announces she will sing Carrie Underwood‘s “Cowboy Casanova.” She’s fantastic but he needs to lose the nose ring and crazy lipstick. The judges love her and so do I. She is a good time and even looks right into the camera.

Mariah tells Ashley, “I enjoyed you. There’s something about you that’s effervescent.” Just like Alka-Selzer, I add in my head, which is a huge compliment because I love Alka-Selzer. And with Ashley, the panel is back to unanimous voting with a countdown. Yay! I’m happy again.

A Nicki nickname montage includes as yet unseen crazy hats. My fave is the all-white ensemble.

Sweet country milkmaid Janelle already has my vote for portraying a young Dolly Parton in a theater production as a child. She sings “Where the Black Top Ends,” and launches into a full-on medley. Keith is in love.

Nicki starts with, “I think you are really, really special,” and I tense up because I imagine she prefaces all her breakups with this very statement. But, she surprises me and gives a yes. Mariah, today in a gorgeous purple gown, loves how pretty Janelle’s voice is. The voting devolves into playful bickering.

Once again, Keith is bouncing early. Cue the really untalented people montage. A super-effeminate guy starts vogueing. “You’re not good for the singing part of the show, but you are a good everything else,” Nicki tells him with a relatively straight face.

Rodney Barber says he is the “Voice of Charlotte.” Another film back story montage. He is definitely going to Hollywood. He used to be homeless and busts out with, “I’ll Be.” He’s OK but not great. He won’t last long, but clearly, will make for good TV.

Keith leaves to go hold Nicole’s hand. He is really just being Mr. Awesome.

Candice Glover made it to Vegas last season but then got cut. Mariah looks tired from smiling. Candice has a gorgeous church voice and her performance brings Randy and Mariah to their feet to applaud. Nicki tells her, “I’m obsessed with you. I want to skin you and wear you.” There’s a leopard somewhere who remembers hearing those same words before going toward the light. Candice is clearly going to be a big favorite this season.

Ja’Bria Barber is a southern girl from a small town and she tells about her pastime of frogigging. Basically, she spears frogs and eats their legs. “It’s very French, dahling,” Mariah says before gagging. Nicki’s joke about “a lot of disabled frogs” makes me laugh. Ja’Bria sings “Pride And Joy,” which is one of my favorite songs, and we all love her. Her smile is infectious, as is her voice. Mariah confesses that this too is her favorite song. Twinsies! It’s a unanimous yes vote for Frog-Killer.

Goofy music means we have another nut in tha house. Brad tries unsuccessfully to explain that not having a wrestling team at his high school is why he performed weird stunts that have caused him head trauma. Brad should really be wearing a helmet at all times. He is 28 and confesses that he used to rap in Houston, TX under the stage name of Bacon.

The editors get playful and we get to see that Mariah has taken a break from Mean Girls to dream about bacon.  Brad sings “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and it is a whole new world of sadness. Mariah’s fake smile looks so painful. I’m giving the editors bonus points for this bacon business.

Brad is a clear no and he asks for some physical contact before awkwardly leaving. His little band of misfit toys are waiting for him outside the door, so at least he has a ride home.

Hairstylist and mother,  Seretha Guinn has a dramatic story to tell. Guys, I already have a few sad stories on file for the day I go to audition. Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my sad montage.

Seretha’s daughter, London, is CRAAAAAAZY cute. Nicki-Name gets the nickname of DunDun from London, who pretends Nicki is her best friend. Awww, Keith does that sometimes. Meanwhile, I am literally dying from the inside out at the cuteness of this situation. Seretha announces she will sing, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Nicki looks skeptical, but it’s a unique, jazzy version that wins over the judges. Then, she gives a more traditional ballad, crooning, “How Do I Live.”

Nicki is moved to tears. Sad music plays while I plead for American Idol to stop torturing me with this emotional rollercoaster. Mariah gushes and we all love Seretha and London.

Tomorrow, we take a pontoon boat to the swamps of Baton Rouge, where we can enjoy gators, Nicki in all-white, confetti and Voodoo!