- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Sniping, then singing as ‘American Idol’ returns
Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) — There was no hair-pulling between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj on the season debut of "American Idol," although some viewers may have been reduced to it.
The pop divas exchanged insults worthy of middle schoolers, fellow freshman judge Keith Urban looked trapped between them, and there was a whiff of make-believe Wednesday about the show's touted feud.
"We can have accessories. I didn't know that was allowed. That's all I'm gonna say," Carey commented archly about Minaj's flashy, drum major-style hat.
The rapper took offense.
"Why'd you have to reference my hat?" Minaj said, with Carey then accusing Minaj of rudeness to her during an earlier elevator meeting.
Mercifully, a contestant arrived to break up the bickering and remind viewers that we tuned in to a talent show, not an episode of "Real Housewives of American Idol."
When the action resumed, Minaj demonstrated a magnificent talent for eye-rolling and upped the ante with a muttered insult.
"If she called me something that begins with a 'b' and ends with an 'itch,' I rebuke it," Carey declared.
Whether the clash is real, Minaj's scrappiness came off as far more entertaining than Carey's demure, even queenly, manner. Carey is getting a truly royal paycheck: $18 million, to Minaj's $12 million.
The award for least self-absorbed judge goes to genial country singer Urban.
The two-hour episode opened by showcasing last year's winner, Phillip Phillips, and those alumni with established careers, including Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson.
Then host Ryan Seacrest brought "American Idol" back down to Earth and to its new judges.
"Our legacy continues as a new era begins," he said, reciting the panelists' resumes, including record sales, Grammys won and, in Carey's case, vocal range (five octaves, "the definition of diva," Seacrest said).
Cue the parade of good, bad and touching performances and biographies, with contestants facing serious challenges once again an "Idol" hallmark.
The judges, including veteran Randy Jackson, hardened their hearts and rejected a young man who had lost a leg to cancer but melted for a teenage girl whose family fosters children with medical concerns and another singer with partial hearing loss.
Forty-one people survived the New York auditions to sing another day in the Hollywood rounds, with the action moving to Chicago on Thursday's episode.
"I feel like we jell well in a weird, crazy way," Minaj declared optimistically of the panel near the episode's conclusion.
Fox certainly hopes so. Last season, "Idol" lost its status as the most-watched TV program for the first time since 2003, eclipsed by NBC's "Sunday Night Football," and pegged its lowest-rated season since it debuted in summer 2002.
TWT Video Picks
By James A. Lyons Jr.
The president has shifted alliance from friend to enemy
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world