The fallout over Mariah Carey’s technical travails during a New Year’s Eve Times Square performance, which highlighted the pop star’s lip-syncing to her hits “Emotions” and “We Belong Together,” continued Monday, with the producers denying her team’s claims that Carey’s performance had been sabotaged.
Carey’s manager, Stella Bulochnikov, told Billboard in a statement Sunday that Carey, 47, who was born in Huntington and raised in Greenlawn, “could not hear the songs’ prerecorded musical tracks through her in-ear monitors. We told them [the stage managers] that the in-ears were not working 10 minutes before the performance,” Bulochnikov continued. “They then changed the battery pack, and they were still not working on the frequency four minutes before the show. We let them know again, and they just kept counting her down and reassuring her that they will work as soon as they go live….”
Bulochnikov said that after the performance she called Mark Shimmel, a producer at Dick Clark Productions, requesting information. He “confirmed the in-ears were not working and asked if I would make a joint statement,” she said. After declining, “I asked him to cut the West Coast feed. He said he could not do that. I asked him why would they want to run a performance with mechanical glitches unless they just want eyeballs at any expense.” Billboard said a backup segment would have had to have been prepared in advance.
Carey’s representative, Nicole Perna, told Billboard the “production set her up to fail,” specifying that producers “told her it would be fine once she was on stage. However, that was not the case and they were again told that her ear piece was not working. Instead of endeavoring to fix the issue so that Mariah could perform, they went live.”
After TMZ.com cited anonymous “sources connected with Mariah” to claim the singer’s representatives had accused Dick Clark Productions of “sabotage” for ratings purposes, the company responded in a statement that as a “producer of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists” and that any suggestions it “would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd.”
The statement added that, “In very rare instances there are of course technical errors that can occur with live television,” but said an initial investigation indicated the company “had no involvement in the challenges associated with Ms. Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance. We want to be clear that we have the utmost respect for Ms. Carey as an artist and acknowledge her tremendous accomplishments in the industry.”
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An anonymous Carey source subsequently backtracked on the sabotage claim, telling Entertainment Weekly on Monday, “Their statement says they didn’t intentionally sabotage her, which we agree with. It, however, doesn’t apologize for failing to do a good job producing her performance, which is what happened. . . . All her manager asked [Dick Clark Productions] for was an apology for the poor job that they did producing Mariah and for support of Mariah in the media as she was taking hits for something she had no control over.”