FOX's “American Idol” kicked off Wednesday night with a whole lotta drama between feuding judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. After months of gossip about the dueling singers, the audience got to see firsthand just how much they hate each other. Oh, and there were some contestants auditioning too, but we’ll get to that later.
“We can have accessories?” Mariah asked. “I didn't know that was allowed. That's all I'm gonna say.” Minaj didn’t appreciate the comment, replying, "Why'd you have to reference my hat?" Mariah mentioned something about a rude encounter with the “Pink Friday” singer in the elevator.
A few contestants later, they were at it again. When Nicki rolled her eyes and dropped a muttered insult, possibly an expletive, Carey fumed, "If she called me something that begins with a 'B' and ends with an `itch,' I rebuke it.”
One thing is for sure, the new judge lineup, which includes veteran Randy Jackson, is a whole lot tougher than any of the previous panels. While they invited 41 New York contestants to Hollywood, it was clear that not every touching story paired with decent vocals was a guaranteed ticket to the next round.
For instance, Jackson took a trip to Staten Island to meet Jessica Kartalis, who was nominated for the show by her mother. Despite all the extra camera time, the 19-year-old was booted for singing in the wrong key.
Another surprise pass was Evan Ruggiero, a Broadway-bound performer who put a pause on his career plans when he was diagnosed with bone cancer at 19. Despite an impressive voice and devastating story, the panel said no.
Ashlee Feliciano, however, faired better with the judges. She knocked their socks off with Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” and brought them to tears by describing how her family fosters “medically complex” children.
Watch FOX on Thursday at 8 PM for more feuding… and the Chicago auditions.