Continued from page 1

“We’re professionals. Have you ever had an argument with someone you’ve worked with?” she said after repeated questions about her working relationship with Carey.

“This was sort of one-sided,” interjected Carey.

“No, it wasn’t,” snapped back Minaj.

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said the judges won’t disappoint, including Urban, whom he calls a sweetheart who “sticks up for himself.” The singer is expected to reinforce the show’s country fan base that has boosted the fortunes of contestants including Southern crooner Scotty McCreey.

Jackson is proving tougher on contestants than in the past, Lythgoe said.

Then there are the divas.

“Nicki can get into it with anybody. She’s one of the best judges ever. … She finds an angle and drives it home,” Lythgoe said. As for Carey, she’s a “true legand” who is the first “to put her arms out if someone’s not going through or she’s happy with someone.”

In an interview, Minaj described giving the show her all.

“I didn’t expect to cry on `American Idol.’ I always said, `Why do they (judges) cry on those shows? That’s so stupid. Get a life.’ But now I take that back,” Minaj said. “When you’re looking into someone’s eyes and they gave their all and you know their journey ends here, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

“Then you have to join the machine again and keep on judging,” she added.

Fox executive Darnell expressed optimism that “Idol,” an especially critical part of the network’s schedule after a rough start to the season for Fox, remains TV royalty.

He conceded the talent show marketplace is overcrowded and “they’re all taking each other down a little bit,” each losing up to 20 percent in viewers.

But “American Idol” remains “the king of the shows. This is the one and the only one that makes stars, period,” Darnell said. “And I think people will keep coming back to it for that reason.”

___

Online:

Story Continues →