Ever since Mariah Carey joined American Idol 2013 as a judge she has had our attention, not for her outstanding performance as a judge, but for her public spats with fellow newcomer, Nicki Minaj.
On Wednesday’s episode of American Idol, fireworks erupted when Nicki disagreed with Mariah’s assessment of Top 4 finalist Angie Miller’s performance. Nicki told Mariah to “clean her ears out” and went so far as to pass her a cotton swab. Mariah took a jab at Nicki saying “not everyone had a song that reached the Billboard No. 1 spot”. The rapper continued to taunt Mariah on Twitter the following day tweeting “She’s sad I tied her record for Hot 100 entries in only 3 years of being in the game.” and “What u SHOULD be doing (with your messy a**) is asking why a woman SO successful at her age, is still so INSECURE, and bitter.” Nicki claims Mariah “admitted she did not want another female doing the show. She didn’t want someone stealing her shine.” In a tweet referring to the rumor that Jennifer Lopez had been approached to replace Mariah, Nicki said “All dem #1s but JLo phone ringin? Lol. I guess having a personality, being a secure woman and giving genuine critique still trumps that”.
Since this is meant to be a profile of Mariah, let’s back up just a bit. Consider the incredible success Mariah Carey has had as an artist and it should follow that there would be no better choice to provide critiques and advice to American Idol hopefuls. But the fact is she has been met with endless criticism for her blatant lack of clarity and substance in her evaluations of the contestants and has been accused of being “too nice”.
Mariah’s accomplishments as a singer are far too numerous to cover here, but following are some of the highlights of her career so far and a few details of her personal life.
Mariah was born in Huntington, Long Island, New York. Her mother, Patricia Carey is a mezzo-soprano opera singer and vocal coach and her father is an aeronautical engineer. Her Mom says Mariah could mimic her operatic style by the time she was 2 years old and at the age of 4 began singing lessons. After graduating high school, Mariah moved to New York City. Mariah is married to rapper/TV Host Nick Cannon, they have 2 young children, twins, Moroccan and Monroe. (Mariah says that Marilyn Monroe is her idol)
She began her music career providing background vocals for singer Brenda K. Starr who passed Mariah’s demo tape to an executive at Columbia Records and she was signed to a contract soon after. Her self-titled debut album released in 1990 produced four No. 1 singles. She earned a Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Best Female Vocalist. Two years later she released her second album, “Emotions”. The single of the same name became her fifth No. 1 single. That same year Mariah appeared on MTV’s “Unplugged” along with fellow judge, Randy Jackson who played bass guitar with her band. The “Unplugged” concert was released as a video and resulted in another No. 1 single, a cover of the Jackson 5 hit “I’ll Be There”. Mariah released 15 No. 1 singles before the end of the 1990’s, with at least one topping the charts every year.
Mariah has earned numerous awards that include multiple Grammys, Radio Music Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard’s Artist of the Decade, a People’s Choice award for Favorite R&B Artist and many others.
She is an active fundraiser for “The Fresh Air Fund”, a charitable organization that provides free summer vacations for disadvantaged children in New York City and Camp Mariah, a retreat where inner-city children can explore career options. She has also donated her talents to concerts to benefit the victims and families of 9/11. Her philanthropic activities have earned Mariah the “Congressional Horizon Award”.
During 2001 Mariah experienced some health issues very publicly, said to be caused by physical and mental exhaustion. She was hospitalized briefly and made a complete recovery. Unfortunately, the film “Glitter” and the attendant album released during that period failed, both commercially and critically prompting Virgin Records to cancel her contract reportedly worth $80 million.
In 2005 she reclaimed her reputation and success with the release of “The Emancipation of Mimi” which debuted at the top of the pop album chart with the single from the album, “We Belong Together” spending 14 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart. In 2008 “E=MC2” produced the single “Touch My Body” which put her No. 1 singles total at 18, surpassing the previous record held by Elvis Presley. Since that time she has released “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” in 2009 and “Merry Christmas II You” in 2010. Mariah’s successful run of No. 1 singles is second only to The Beatles.
She has a new album due to be released this summer. The video for the single, “Beautiful” is scheduled to debut on American Idol during the show’s Wednesday, May 8th episode. Mariah’s film credits in addition to “Glitter” include the HBO film, “Wisegirls” and 2009’s “Precious” which earned her rave reviews for her role as a social worker.
Mariah has also distinguished herself from all others with her incredible vocal range which spans more than 5 octaves. This amazing ability is demonstrated most effectively in her single, “Vision of Love”. She is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest note hit by a human. Mariah is a multi-talented artist and composes all of her own songs.
Although Mariah has been criticized by our readers for her attention grabbing, inappropriate and often cumbersome wardrobe choices, she says that she is “not vain, but insecure” and also gives her fans known as “Lambs” full credit for her success. She is proud of her African American/Venezuelan/Irish ancestry and strives to be an inspiration to bi-racial children and hopes to demonstrate that the difficulties of being accepted for who you are can be overcome.
Given Mariah Carey’s talent as a vocalist and incredible success in the music industry she should certainly be able to give credible advice to the Idol contestants to help them on their way to successful careers of their own.
Do you think Mariah should be replaced as a judge for the next season of American Idol? Does Nicki Minaj’s presence at the table affect Mariah’s ability to be an effective judge?