The fight heard 'round the world was showcased on Wednesday's episode of American Idol, which flashed back to the auditions in Charlotte, N.C., where the snide banter between judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey first escalated into their now-infamous public feud.
After a long day of (sometimes painful) auditions, the tension boiled over at the end of contestant Summer Cunningham's performance, when Carey, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson were trying to debate whether or not Cunningham's voice lent itself to country music or not. The trio of judges debated back and forth as Summer looked on, horrified (and Minaj looked on, bored). Though Cunningham was eventually sent on to Hollywood, the awkwardness stayed right at the table, with an exasperated Minaj shouting that it didn't matter whether she fell into a country category or not, and criticizing Carey and Jackson for trying to pigeonhole her.
Returning Winter Shows: Where we left off
"I'm trying to help her instead of just looking at her outfit," Carey shot back at the fashion-conscious Minaj. Then Jackson chimed in, pointing out that he was also trying to help, and has 30 years of industry experience to back it up.
"Oh, I can't help her," a frustrated Minaj retorted, getting up and stomping away from the table. "Maybe I should just get off the f---ing panel."
And thus ... a rivalry was born. The exchange ended production on the first day of auditions in the city and caused a significant delay on Day 2, according to the episode — with even some of the hopefuls asking the judges to please stop fighting.
But, as anyone who's been following Idol's offseason knows, the sparks are only going to get bigger. What do you think? Are you Team Nicki or Team Mariah?
American Idol returns Thursday at 8/7c on Fox.