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In a recent conference call with reporters, the "Idol" boss called Keith Urban the "scratching post between Mariah and Nicki," but also revealed the country superstar has had heated moments with all of his fellow judges, including a "big one with Nicki." (Quotes via USA Today). Still, Lythgoe hinted that Urban is the most contestant-friendly of the judges, standing up to any unfair criticism of the budding talent.
Lythgoe went on to explain that the electricity between the four judges (Carey, Minaj, Urban and veteran "Idol" judge Randy Jackson) is due to four fairly different visions of what kind of musician should win. "Nicki is looking for an artist. Mariah is looking for the complete singer-songwriter. Randy is looking for somebody that sings on pitch. Keith is not just looking for a country singer. He is looking for an instrumentalist, a good singer and somebody that can capture that magic -- charisma, if you will."
As for the dueling divas, there's no word yet on just how much of that we'll see on TV. Carey and Minaj made nice (well, somewhat) earlier this week at an "American Idol" press conference. "[Mariah] is one of my favorite artists of all time," the rapper told reporters. "To be on a panel with her, it's kind of crazy. All the singers come in aspiring to be Mariah, in terms of talent and career length."
"That was a very sweet thing to say," the pop icon responded, then recalling a duet she did with Minaj in 2010. "We did a song that was from my album and it was called, ironically, 'Up Out My Face'. It was one of my favorite songs ... And I did feel like she was going to go very far and still have that feeling."
But when asked about one of their highly-publicized arguments that was caught on camera, the ladies clashed once again. "It was sort of a one-sided thing," Carey explained.
"No, it wasn't!" Minaj interjected. "See? They don't want a rising star, they want drama."
Season 12 of "American Idol" premieres Jan. 16 at 8:00 PM ET on FOX.
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