“American Idol” catfight: Nicki and Mariah duke it out over “Mean Girls”!

"American Idol" returns for its 12th season, reigniting one of television's most ridiculous feuds

Topics: American Idol, TV, Nicki Minaj, mariah carey, keith urban, randy jackson, Reality TV, Television, mean girls,

"American Idol" catfight: Nicki and Mariah duke it out over "Mean Girls"! (Credit: FOXMichael Becker)

It was just a little over 10 minutes into the new season of “American Idol,”its 12th, when new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj started bickering about “Mean Girls.” “I want to lose three pounds,” Mariah said, sitting at the judges table getting her hair and make up retouched.  “I know how you can,” Nicki sassed back. “It’s a quote from ‘Mean Girls.’ If you knew ‘Mean Girls’ you would know,” Mariah countered. “I do know ‘Mean Girls,’” Nicki replied “Okay, who says ‘I want to lose three pounds?’ Which character?” Mariah asked. Incapable of leaving the bait untouched, Nicki tried, “Not Lindsay. The other one, with the blonde hair.” “What’s her name?” Mariah insisted. “You know something, Mariah …” Nicki began. Australian country star Keith Urban, the other new judge, pinched the bridge of his nose.

Much has been made of the Mariah-Nicki feud going into the new season, which has Mariah, Nicki, and Keith replacing Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler — the judges who helped the show transition out of the Simon Cowell years — but nobody promised anything as wonderfully adolescent and surreal as a fight about “Mean Girls.” (It came up again later, with Nicki insisting Mariah “is Regina George.”) The Mariah-Nicki feud, based on last night’s display, is to catfights what “Idol’s” string of cute-ish white boy winners is to rock and roll: the appealing, non-threatening, professionally packaged kind that you find yourself smiling along to without conscious thought. When Mariah and Nicki trade insults, it’s with smiles on their faces, dueling British accents, and minimal eye contact. Stretching out her arms and talking to no one, Nicki sing-songed “She’s a bitch! She’s a bitch.” “If she called me something that begins with a ‘b’ and ends in an ‘itch’ I rebuke it,” Mariah smiled back, playing with her soda straw. The new season of “Idol” should be great fun.



Mariah and Nicki don’t like each other, but they are not crazy or drug-addled or quiet. After the exceedingly dull celebrity spectacle that was Britney Spears on “the X Factor,” it is genuinely pleasant to have three fully sentient, energetic, well-spoken people who know something about music (and Randy Jackson) talking to all these wannabe “Idol” winners. It’s also a relief to be watching a show so confident in itself that it doesn’t have to make a huge deal about what a big deal it is. Ryan Seacrest’s opening monologue about the cultural importance of “Idol” contained the phrase “Together, we’ll take the journey that defines a nation,” and while I sincerely hope “American Idol” is not the journey that defines our nation, I do appreciate that after this requisite posturing the show got out of its own way, showing auditions and singers, not endless shots of big crowds and its own hype.

Whatever their interpersonal issues, the four judges are chatty, discursive, knowledgeable, not so opinionated as Simon Cowell, but not pushovers either. The cute, guitar playing 23-year-old with the amputated leg who had recently recovered from cancer wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t great: The judges politely sent him home despite his backstory. The teen girl who lived on a farm and could sing Carrie Underwood and rap Nicki Minaj’s “Superbass” sparked minutes of conversation about whether a young performer has to be one type of singer or another. The oddball Asian kid with oversize glasses and no talent whatsoever was sent home gently: Mariah wondered if he had ever considered being a D.J. Nicki told him, “I would never do this when I was young, I was so scared.” One performer in a wig and a red plastic Michael Jackson suit that made unfortunate farting noises every time it moved sent Keith under the judges table in embarrassment —  I was right there with him.

Willa Paskin

Willa Paskin is Salon's staff TV writer.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>