Mariah Carey-Nicki Minaj American Idol fights: More real than Manti Te'o's girlfriend?

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 16, 2013 

Maybe it's time to accept some things as the new normal in the "American Idol" universe -- like an entire montage devoted to Nicki Minaj's fake British accent.

That happened on Wednesday's "Idol" premiere, our first look at the interactions on the new judges' panel, which includes Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson.

Predictably, we got our fair share of Nicki-Mariah fights, which seemed a bit contrived at times. Were they REALLY fighting about a "Mean Girls" quote? (Sorry, folks...I still think it's largely a publicity stunt.)

In terms of feedback, Mariah seems like the least useful member of the panel. Nicki occupies a space in the fine line between "entertaining" and "annoying."

Keith seems like a voice of reason, but he needs to talk more. Randy is the same as usual, though he appears a little less patient with this season's singers.

I'd summarize Wednesday's talent level as "good." I wish we would've seen more successful singers. The ones who advanced weren't incredibly memorable.

Gurpreet Singh Sarin will likely generate the most post-show buzz. He calls himself "The Turbanator" and matches his turban to his outfit. He advanced to Hollywood.

Weigh in: What did you think of Wednesday's show? Do you have a favorite singer? Are you buying the Mariah Carey-Nicki Minaj feud?

I live-blogged Wednesday’s premiere of the 12th season of "American Idol." Read my recap, share your thoughts and get ready for another night of fun. This season’s second episode of "Idol" airs 8 p.m. Thursday on Fox. Follow my blog for updates throughout the show.

Here's a full recap of Wednesday's episode.

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The show kicks off with Phillip Phillips performing "Home" in an empty theater. Yes, I realize you produced a successful winner last season, "Idol." Let's focus on the future, not the past.

Speaking of the future, Ryan Seacrest introduces the judges' panel: Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.

Is "Idol" really "the journey that defines a nation"? Seacrest thinks so. Oh man, I am SO not ready for these sob stories.

This season's first episode focuses on auditions in New York.

Of course, Nicki's crazy fashion sense is in full effect. I'd best describe her getup as a sexy drum major costume. Nine minutes into the episode, we already have a Nicki-Mariah fight. Mariah apparently isn't a fan of Nicki's outfit.

I'm too distracted to catch the first singer's name, but it doesn't matter since he's a joke. He doesn't advance to Hollywood, but he compliments Mariah on "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Mariah brags, Nicki criticizes. Please tell me things will get better.

After the first commercial break, we get a clip of Nicki and Mariah fighting. Over a quote from "Mean Girls." Really?

Finally, a promising contestant: Tenna Torres, 28, is a big Mariah fan. She even attended Camp Mariah back in the day. She performs a decent version of "You've Got a Friend." It's a bit overly dramatic and nasally for me, but whatever. She unanimously advances to Hollywood.

We get a rapid-fire montage of successful singers, though we don't see any of their names.

James Bae, 15, wants to be the next Justin Bieber. He utters a dangerous promise: "I know what the audience wants." No surprise: He botches his rendition of Bieber's "One Less Lonely Girl." He's like a miniature William Hung. He gets a unanimous "no" for Hollywood, but Nicki kind of hits on him. He wants to have a "collide" with Nicki. Presumably, he means a collaboration.

Christina "Isabelle" was raised in Atlanta and has lost a lot of weight. She performs a nice version of "Summertime," but again...a little over the top for me. "I loved the vulnerability in your voice," Keith Urban says. Mariah adds, "I've been singing that song since I was a baby." Good for you. She unanimously advances to Hollywood.

Evan Ruggiero, 21, has been dancing for 17 years and wanted to perform on Broadway. However, he was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors had to amputate his leg, but he still dances. He sings a decent version of "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz, then plays "Wanted Dead or Alive" on his guitar. It's a little bland, but I've seen worse singers advance. Still, he gets a unanimous "no" for Hollywood.

Apparently, viewers this year had the chance to nominate someone to audition for "Idol."

The chosen one: Jessica Kartalis plays her guitar while performing an original song. She's nervous and delivers a very bland performance. She asks to sing sans guitar. Nicki says no. The judges thinks she needs more work. She gets a unanimous "no" for Hollywood.

Shira Gavrielov grew up in Israel. She even had a No. 1 hit there. She performs a nice rendition of "Valerie" and unanimously advances to Hollywood.

Frankie Ford, 24, is from a tough Brooklyn neighborhood. He was adopted and he sings on a New York train to make money. He sings "Sweet Dreams," but has to start over after botching his performance. "I like this kid. I believe in you, man," Randy says. He unanimously advances to Hollywood.

With that, we enter day 2 of New York auditions.

Benjamin Gaisey is dressed as some strange James Brown/Michael Jackson hybrid. He botches a version of "I'll Make Love to You" and is unanimously rejected for Hollywood.

Rozanna Shindelman has only performed for her parents, which seems like a recipe for disaster. She performs a fairly disastrous version of "To Know Him is To Love Him" and is unanimously rejected.

Quick montage of unsuccessful contestants.

Sarah Restucccio, 17, is a Jersey girl who works at a blueberry farm and likes to do country stuff. She sings "Mama's Song" by Carrie Underwood. It's pretty good, but it could use a little more personality. Randy wants to hear another song. She sings Nicki's "Super Bass" and it's actually pretty awesome. Nicki loves it, but Keith says she needs to choose a musical direction. Still, she unanimously advances to Hollywood.

Albert Chang, 25, is a receptionist at a doctor's office. He's awful, especially when he hits the high notes. Yet another version of William Hung. "Your range is better than Mariah's," Nicki jokes. He gets a unanimous "no."

For some reason, we get a montage of Nicki speaking with a British accent.

Angela Miller, 18, has had hearing problems throughout her life. She impresses the judges with her rendition of "Mama Knows Best" and unanimously advances to Hollywood.

Brett Holt, 28, is a big "Idol" fan who has auditioned multiple times. He performs a boring rendition of "When I Fall in Love" and is unanimously rejected.

Gurpreet Singh Sarin wears a turban that matches his outfit. His nickname is "The Turbanator." Yes, really. He sings a nice rendition of "Sunday Morning." Nicki thinks he has a pretty voice, but not a standout voice. Keith says no, but all the other judges advance him to Hollywood.

Ashlee Feliciano comes from a big family. Her parents foster/adopt "medically complex" kids. She performs a nice version of "Put Your Records On." She deserves a chance. Of course, the judges have her family come into the room after she sings. She unanimously advances to Hollywood.

And...we're done! Some 41 contestants advanced in New York, Seacrest says. Thursday, "Idol" goes to Chicago.

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