Move over Nicki and Mariah, a new feud is brewing on the set of Fox's American Idol. Thursday night's results show, which saw the departure of Paul Jolley, featured harsh words from Interscope Records chairman and mentor Jimmy Iovine, who called out the judges for being too complimentary and confusing in their critiques. Those words did not sit well with the judges, who challenged Iovine directly when TV Guide Magazine caught up with them backstage just moments after the show wrapped.
"I wish he would just zip his lips and let America make their own decisions," says Nicki Minaj, who argues that Iovine's negativity may be impacting the results. "Because he comes down very hard on Lazaro [Arbos], America keeps voting for him. You don't want to force a decision down [viewers'] throats because they're going to feel compelled to rebel."
While it's unlikely audiences will ever see Iovine in one of the judge's chairs, Randy Jackson is pushing for a more constructive dialogue between the mentor and the dais. "They've got to open up our mics so we can come back at him. And we should judge Jimmy!" he suggests. However, judge Keith Urban says he's not too bothered by Iovine's comments. "I think he's pretty accurate. But I agree with Jimmy when he agrees with me, otherwise I don't agree!"
American Idol will also face a fierce battle of its own next week as the show goes head to head with the new season of NBC's The Voice on Wednesday night. But Jackson insists there's no rivalry between the two panels. "Those guys are all dear friends — Adam [Levine], Blake [Shelton] and Usher I know really well," he says. "They're great, talented people and musicians so I wish them well."
Do you think Jimmy Iovine's criticism of the Idol judges is accurate?