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Seacrest: 'Idol' judges' dispute 'heated' but 'OK'

"American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest, center, with judges,

"American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest, center, with judges, from left, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson in Manhattan, in a photo released by Fox. Rumors of a feud between Carey and Minaj started almost as soon as the new judges were announced. (Sept. 16, 2012) Credit: AP

"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest confirmed Wednesday that judge Nicki Minaj's verbal tirade against Mariah Carey during an audition in Charlotte, N.C., had in fact turned into a "heated [and] intense" argument that halted production.

During his radio show Wednesday, Seacrest downplayed Tuesday's tirade -- posted on TMZ late Tuesday night -- saying there's "nothing wrong with disagreeing . . . That's going to happen, and it's OK," diplomatically adding, "These are all very different individuals with different perspectives and different opinions that provide for interesting conversation and dialogue and feedback for the contestants."

Disputes between judges on reality series are hardly unheard of. But Fox -- hoping in part to revive the franchise by promoting the potential for friction between both judges -- may have assumed that Minaj and Carey would eventually come to loggerheads. (The network declined to comment.)

Tuesday's incident turned an otherwise routine audition into a media circus after TMZ reported that Minaj had threatened Carey with violence.

The website reported that a source had heard Minaj say, "If I had a gun I would shoot her."

The show's executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe -- seen on-screen trying to call a timeout during the expletive-laden video -- told the website that the report was "rubbish."

Going forward, potential pitfalls for "Idol" are obvious, most notably a sense among fans and contestants that TV's pre-eminent talent contest is either unraveling or could turn into "Bad Girls Club."

Carey's husband, Nick Cannon, told "Access Hollywood" Wednesday: "I hope that's not what this show becomes -- about the catfights."

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