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American Idol judges Minaj and Carey agree to disagree

The new Idol judges discussed their recent on-set feud - by feuding in front of reporters

The new judges on the panel of the 12th season of American Idol, from left, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj. Todd Williamson / Invision / AP Photo
The new judges on the panel of the 12th season of American Idol, from left, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj. Todd Williamson / Invision / AP Photo

Five minutes into their season-opening news conference on Tuesday, the new team at American Idol were having their first disagreement - about their disagreements. Then Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj kept it going.

"We're professionals. Have you ever had an argument with someone you've worked with?" Minaj said after repeated questions about her reported feud with her new fellow judge Carey.

"This was sort of one-sided," interjected Carey, wearing a queenly smile.

"No, it wasn't," Minaj snapped back.

Fox's network executive Mike Darnell was asked by reporters with the Television Critics Association if the clash was authentic. He said there was a lot of musical passion within the group, which also includes the country star Keith Urban and the returning judge Randy Jackson, and that it triggered disagreements.

"The fighting is what it is," Carey said at one point. "This is American Idol. It's bigger than all that. It's bigger than some stupid trumped-up thing."

Reports that the two divas were at odds surfaced last fall. On The View, Barbara Walters recounted a phone conversation with Carey in which the pop star said that Minaj threatened to shoot her after a taping. The rapper quickly responded with dismissive tweets.

Trumped up or not, Carey and Minaj appeared on the panel with Urban placed between them and indulged in their testy "one-sided" exchange. But they also responded to a request to say something nice about each other.

Minaj called Carey one of her favourite artists who has shaped a generation of singers. In return, Carey fondly recalled working with Minaj on a single titled - "ironically" as Carey noted - Up Out My Face."I knew she was going to go far, and still is," Carey said.

American Idol begins its 12th season on Wednesday, facing questions again about its ability to endure as a top-rated show given the increasingly crowded talent-show landscape that includes The Voice. - AP