So, have you heard about the tension between "American Idol" judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey?
It's been a dominant theme as "Idol" struggles for relevance in its 12th season. Months before the "Idol" season premiere, a clip of a Nicki Minaj-Mariah Carey fight surfaced on TMZ.
The incident happened during "Idol" auditions in Charlotte, N.C., the focus of Wednesday's two-hour episode. First, a quick refresher:
Producers immediately teased to it, but we had to wait almost an hour to see the events that possibly led to the incident. What happened? I'll break it down in seven easy steps. This sequence of events was less explicit than what surfaced on TMZ.
1. Summer Cunningham from Warner Robins, Ga., performs "Lean On Me." It sounds very country.
2. The judges, sans Nicki, want to know where Summer fits musically. She's still deciding. She sort of already "did the country thing," she says.
3. Keith gets a little offended by that line. Randy and Mariah say Summer sounds like a country singer. Nicki is silent.
4. Keith, Randy and Mariah give Summer a "yes" for Hollywood. Nicki looks bored/angry.
5. It's Nicki's turn to vote. "For a minute I thought it was like a country music debate," she says of the previous discussion. She's still cool with Keith, but she calls out Randy and Mariah for "forcing (Summer) to claim something." Nicki says, "Watch the tape back and you'll understand." Randy and Mariah appear offended. OK, Mariah IS offended.
6. Keith interrupts and tells Summer she's going to Hollywood!
7. "Maybe I should get off the &*%# panel," Nicki says. "I'm done."
That's pretty much all we got, aside from a montage of media fallout. Of course, Nicki wasn't done. Everything was (kind of) back to normal for the second day of auditions. Which reminds me...did I mention people actually sang on Wednesday's show?
Overall, the talent was fair -- better than the New York episode, but not as good as the Chicago episode. My favorites were repeat contestants Candace Glover and Janelle Arthur. I also liked Seretha Guinn, a hairstylist/mom whose boyfriend was involved in an accident that almost took his life.
Thursday's episode of "Idol" features auditions in Baton Rouge, La. Here's a full recap of Wednesday's show.
Naomi Morris, 28, flaunts some pretty extreme neon makeup...and cleavage. Nicki wants her to change her name to "Omi." In the end, it doesn't matter. She botches her rendition of "Respect," yet somehow sticks around long enough to sing a second tune: "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." She's unanimously rejected for Hollywood. Mariah offers a classic line: "Don't let this get you down because you're a beautiful girl."
Joel Nemoyer, 20, is a quirky guy who sings "Feelin' Good" while lying down on the ground. Four-way "no" for Hollywood. So...when do the good auditions start?
Brian Rittenberry hails from Jasper, Ga. He has a son. His wife exceeded doctors' expectations after battling cancer. She also has a huge crush on Keith Urban. Brian performs a fair rendition of "Let It Be." It's a little shouty. He deserves a chance, but I doubt he'll advance beyond Hollywood. Still, he unanimously advances...and his wife even gets to meet Keith Urban.
Jimmy Smith, 25, is a Keith Urban fan who sings "Bless the Broken Road." It's a little whiny at times, but the judges are impressed. "I love your voice...I can tell who you are though the tone," Keith says. He gets a four-way "yes" for Hollywood.
Quick montage of successful singers: Sarina-Joi Crowe, Haley Davis and Nachelle Fullins-Lovell.
We take a break for some footage of "Idol" winner Scotty McCreery's appearance at the Charlotte auditions.
Matthew Muse is a goofy country singer who says he's been compared to Brad Paisley. Big surprise: He's a joke contestant. His version of "When I Get Where I'm Going" is a huge mess. " Four-way "no" for Hollywood.
Isabel Gonzalez, 16, had a surprise leading up to her audition. Randy Jackson showed up at her Alpharetta, Ga., high school with her audition number. See, her aunt nominated her for the show. She offers a nice take on a Sam Cooke tune. It's too early to tell if she has massive star power, but she deserves a chance. She unanimously advances to Hollywood. "You're a natural," Keith says.
Taisha Bethea usually sings with a rock band. Her first audition song, "Folsom Prison Blues," is a little boring. She's better suited for her second song, "You Oughta Know." Randy says, "Black girls can rock." Still, he and Mariah say "no" for Hollywood. Keith and Nicki say yes. Apparently, it's Keith's chance to break a tie. He advances her to Hollywood.
Time for the big fight!!!!!!!!!!!!! After the aforementioned ordeal, we see a quick montage of the media fallout. And now...time for day two!
Brandy Hamilton is a Navy reservist who delivers a nice rendition of "All I Could Do Was Cry" by Etta James. "I can't wait to hear more from you," Mariah says. She unanimously advances to Hollywood...and advises the judges to stop fighting. It makes her sad.
Ashley Smith is a quirky girl with a big personality. Nicki calls her "Blondie." She initially seems like a joke contestant, but her version of Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova" is actually pretty good. "I enjoyed you. I really did," Mariah says. "I couldn't look away," Keith says. Ashley responds, "Like how I am with you." She unanimously advances to Hollywood.
Quick montage of Nicki's strange nicknames for contestants.
Janelle Arthur is a repeat "Idol" hopeful. She delivers a nice rendition of one of Keith's tunes, "Where the Blacktop Ends." The judges love her. She unanimously advances to Hollywood.
Apparently, Keith has to leave at 2:30 p.m. on day two of auditions. Time crunch!
Rodney Barber is apparently the "Voice of Charlotte." He was once homeless. Now, he sings on the street and collects money to help homeless people. He sings "I'll Be." It's decent, but a little too shouty for me. The judges like him and he unanimously advances to Hollywood.
Keith is outta here! For the day, at least.
Candace Glover auditioned last year and was cut in Vegas. She delivers a great performance, even though I can't identify the song. Sorry, guys. "I want to skin you and wear you," Nicki says. Mariah calls it "the absolute best singing we have heard thus far." She unanimously advances to Hollywood. Woo hoo! Let's take a moment and remember when Candace took the stage last year with Jessica and Deandre. I LOVE THIS.
Ja'bria Barber likes to hunt and fish. She also likes to catch frogs and eat their legs. Despite those quirks, she's a pretty good singer. She performs a solid, soulful version of "Pride and Joy." She unanimously advances to Hollywood.
Brad Harris used to rap under the name "Bakon." Hmm. This should turn out well. NOT. He botches his performance of "A Whole New World" from "Aladdin." The judges unanimously reject him.
Seretha Guinn is a hairstylist with a 3-year-old daughter. Her boyfriend was involved in a serious accident that almost took his life. She sings a pretty cool jazzy version of the "Fresh Prince" theme song. Yes, really. It's awesome. The judges want to hear another song. She sings "How Do I Live." Both performances are very strong. No surprise...she unanimously advances to Hollywood.
With that, we're done! Some 37 Charlotte hopefuls advanced to Hollywood, Seacrest says.