Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey’s ‘American Idol’ Feud is Real, Says Producer Nigel Lythgoe

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The American Idol feud can’t possibly be a staged publicity stunt because it’s way too early in the season for a fake feud.

So says the producer of the hit Fox singing competition, amid rumors that dueling divas Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are faking their beef as a ratings ploy.

“I have no idea why I would be doing it [for ratings] five months before the show went out,” Nigel Lythgoe told TMZ. But that’s not to say he’s against pulling stunts for publicity. “They’ve got to realize I would only do anything for ratings a month before the show went out,” he admitted. “They’ve got my timing wrong.”

Now on the heels of the now infamous caught-on-camera face-off, are Minaj and Carey on the outs?

“They were amicable that afternoon,” Lythgoe said.

The bitter blowout in question exploded between the two new judges during Oct. 2 auditions in Charlotte, N.C. Carey, 42, and Minaj, 29, reportedly disagreed on an Idol hopeful’s performance, and things got so heated, Minaj lashed out at Carey, shouting, “I told them I’m not f***ing putting up with her f***ing highness over there.”

Later that week, Idol producers released a statement to assure fans that the show is under control, despite the profanity-filled fracas between Minaj and Carey. “This is one of the best, most passionate, dynamic and invested judging panels we’ve ever had,” the statement read. “Despite all the accusations and media speculation — much of which is inaccurate — production is going extremely well today and the judges are focused on finding the best talent.”

Many industry insiders and Idol alumni — including former finalist Jennifer Hudson, ex-judge Steven Tyler, and rival music competition show judge Cee Lo Green of NBC’s The Voice — have expressed skepticism about the feud, speculating that it’s all just another way for Idol to draw attention to itself.

As many close to the situation continue to chime in on the feud — from fellow judge Keith Urban to Idol host Ryan Seacrest, to Carey’s husband Nick Cannon — Lythgoe is encouraging viewers not to draw conclusions so soon. “I think before anybody makes any judgments,” he told TMZ, “they should see the show.”

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