“She’s not going to let this faze her now – the outbursts won’t faze her,” a pal tells PEOPLE of Carey, who worked on a single and a music video with Minaj in the past.
“She’ll handle [it] with poise and grace,” adds the pal. “Mariah has dealt with far worse in her career.”
One person firmly in her corner? Carey’s husband, Nick Cannon.
“If you watch the video, she just maintains her composure … I don’t think she’s moved by the theatrics and pageantry of it all,” Cannon tells Access Hollywood of the purported spat between his wife and Minaj. (TMZ.com posted a video of their dispute.)
“She signed up to do a job to help young people,” he says. “This is like a sidebar. I hope that’s not what this show becomes, about the catfights.”
A rep for Minaj had no comment about the feud, but a source close to the pop star says, she’s “always been really professional, but she’s like a Gaga or Madonna and is very serious about the order of things. She is tough and direct minded.”
Idol host Ryan Seacrest agrees that there are strong personalities on the new judges’ panel – and adds that there are bound to be disagreements.
They judges are “very different individuals … with different perspective and different opinions that provide for interesting conversation and dialogue and feedback for the contestants,” he said on his KIIS-FM radio show Wednesday.
But even he admits that the confrontation between Carey and Minaj was unusual. “Yesterday it got heated,” he said. “It was intense, I’ll be honest with you.”
Seacrest, who was standing just outside the room during the outburst – but says that a contestant was present for part of the exchange – also confirms that producers sent everyone home to get some rest.
“It went far last night – and yeah there’s video that’s out. So it did get intense and we did wrap after it.”
• With reporting by JESSICA HERNDON and KEVIN O’DONNELL