During the Thursday morning broadcast of On Air with Ryan Seacrest, the longtime Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve host remained diplomatic while he explained the night’s events, which have devolved into a bitter he-said-she-said between the diva’s camp and Dick Clark Productions, which produced the show.
“It is difficult to perform in Times Square. I mean, she had done it before because she was the first musical guest that we had had live when I started doing the show a decade ago. So she had seen it; she knows what Times Square is about. It’s complicated,” Seacrest, 42, said. “I don’t know what you realize on TV or you see, but imagine: Every single TV outlet in the world is there. There’s all kinds of technical things going on.
“It’s live television, and things happen on live TV — if something goes wrong, it’s unfortunate for anybody,” he added.
Seacrest — decked in a suit from his Ryan Seacrest Distinction collection — was onstage to welcome Carey but says he “didn’t have a visual” of what happened after his introduction because he was heading several blocks away to another stage to continue his hosting duties.
What did happen: Carey covered the classic “Auld Lang Syne” before launching into an awkward medley of her hits “Emotions” and “We Belong Together,” walking around stage and not singing after she appeared to remove her earpiece, at one point saying, “I’m trying to be a good sport here,” and later adding, sarcastically, “That was…amazing.”
After the mishap, a rep for Carey cited technical difficulties, telling the Associated Press, “Unfortunately there was nothing she could do to continue with the performance given the circumstances.” And hours after the set, Carey appeared to “Shake It Off,” tweeting: “S— happens … Here’s to making more headlines in 2017.”
But in the days that have followed, Carey’s team and Dick Clark Productions have exchanged barbs after the singer’s manager asserted the show sabotaged the performance and “set [her] up to fail.” The production company fired back, writing in a statement to PEOPLE: “To suggest that [Dick Clark Productions] … would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd … In very rare instances, there are, of course, technical errors that can occur with live television, however, an initial investigation has indicated that DCP had no involvement in the challenges associated with Ms. Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance.”
Seacrest, who began hosting New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 2005, appeared to remain neutral on his Thursday show when he discussed the ongoing spat between Carey and DCP.
“This is a team that wants to do everything they can to accommodate any artists. They, and we, are in the business of wanting people to look good! And believe me: Tricky things, tough things can happen, on live television,” he said. “You’ve seen artists before, in a concert, pull out their earpieces because something happened. So something could have happened in the ears; I wasn’t in those ears.
“It’s just unfortunate that it comes to all of this — because it’s a night of celebration and a night of fun.”