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Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj Downplay Their Hyped Feud at “American Idol” Panel

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Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj downplayed their massively hyped feud during an “American Idol” panel at the Television Critics Association on Tuesday.

The incoming “Idol” judges, sitting on either side of fellow new arrival Keith Urban, were asked repeatedly about the severity — and authenticity — of the perceived tension between the two of them.

“This is a very passionate panel,” said Carey, adding that it was defined by “strong personalities.”

Her disagreements with Minaj — including a leaked, taped argument during October auditions in North Carolina — should not be overblown, insists Carey.

She says, “I think the fighting is what it is. This is ‘American Idol.’ It’s bigger than all that. It’s bigger than some stupid trumped-up thing.”

Carey also insisted that the “convoluted” feud narrative is a “distraction from the show and the contestants.”

Minaj told the crowd, “We’re professionals. Have you ever had an argument with someone you’ve worked with?”

When asked at one point how she and Carey moved past their differences, the rapper joked, “I put on my sex tape.”

Both female judges were asked to say something nice about the other.

“I say nice things about Mariah all the time,” replied Minaj. “She’s one of my favorite artists of all-time… she’s really shaped a generation of singers.”

Carey reflected on the pair’s collaboration on “Up Out My Face” early in Minaj’s career and noted, “I did know and feel that she was going to go very far.”

Season 12 of “American Idol” premieres on January 16.

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