American Idol judges play nice after feud

Mariah Carey

New American Idol judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj shrugged off their widely publicised feud as a "trumped-up thing" that was merely a passionate difference of opinion over the TV talent show's contestants. In their first big media appearance ahead of the hit show's return to Fox television on January 16, the two pop stars showered each other with praise while barely looking at each other.

A day after the airing of an ABC TV interview in which Carey said she hired extra security following threats reportedly made against her by Minaj last year, the Hero singer told reporters it was time to focus on the aspiring Idol stars. "This is a very passionate panel. There are a lot of strong personalities," said Carey, who is reportedly being paid $18 million to be an American Idol judge.

"The fighting is what it is. This is American Idol. It is bigger than some stupid trumped-up thing. It's about the next superstar... The whole thing is convoluted. It's a distraction from the show and the contestants," Carey said.

Minaj, an outspoken 30-year-old rapper, called Carey one of her 'favourite artists of all time'. "She has really shaped a generation of singers and to be on a panel with her where (contestants) all aspire to be Mariah Carey... I feel excited to see them, see someone they look up to so much," Minaj said.

Carey, 42, recalled working with Minaj in 2009 on an album track, and knowing at the time that the rapper would be successful. "Nothing to write about now!" quipped "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest.

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