Fans hoping to see new American Idol judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj battle it out in an epic feud may be disappointed. The new panelists, along with host Ryan Seacrest, took a break from filming Hollywood week to chat with the press on Wednesday, and by (almost) all accounts season 12 is steeped in mutual admiration, sunshine and rainbows.
Despite her and Carey’s heated exchange during auditions in Charlotte, N.C., Minaj had nothing but kind words for her fellow judges.
“We’ve jelled really, really well as a group,” she told reporters. “We have a great chemistry. We have a great rhythm now together, and we really are taking it serious. … We really are rooting for the contestants and we want to find a great American Idol.”
For Idol veteran Randy Jackson, that means he’ll play the hard-to-please role vacated by Simon Cowell.
“Nicki is mad funny, and Mariah is mad funny, and Keith is very quick-witted and funny,” Jackson said. “We’re all kind of silly, but I guess maybe I’m the harsh one. I’m the quickest to say no.”
Keith Urban happily boasted about the “synergy” that he has found with his “very different” costars and admitted that his reported role as referee is really nothing more than keeping his fellow judges focused on the task at hand.
“I’m just trying to bring the drama down so that we can stay on point,” he told PEOPLE.
Seacrest said the drama has a way of working itself out. “I don’t really have to play peacekeeper,” he said. “The peace finds itself. They find the peace … eventually”
But Carey, resplendent in a floor-length red gown and diamond earrings, hinted that perhaps the claws haven’t been fully retracted. She heaped praise upon her long-time friend Jackson, called Urban an “expert” of country music and said of the group, “I think this panel is great because of the diversity.” But she dodged a question about what Minaj brings to the show.
“You know, I wouldn’t feel comfortable commenting on that,” she said with a smile. “But thank you for the question.”