The hunt is on to determine what caused Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve debacle.
Carey’s painful performance, witnessed by two million or so Times Square revelers and millions more watching live on ABC, was seemingly caused by a malfunction in her in-ear monitors, which made her unable to sing or even lip-sync a medley of her hits.
“Unfortunately there was nothing she could do to continue with the performance given the circumstances,” Carey’s spokeswoman Nicole Perna told the Los Angeles Times, blaming the bizarre display on technical issues.
However, an audio producer who worked at the event told The New York Times that the monitors onstage and for Carey’s ears were working. Dick Clark Productions, which produced the ABC broadcast, said that there were eight monitors onstage that were also playing the prerecorded tracks for Carey’s hits “Emotions” and “We Belong Together” that she was trying to hear.
Though there was plenty of noise in Times Square during Carey’s performance, her dancers did not seem to have any problems hearing as they danced to the song’s beat.
In any case, the Greenlawn-raised Carey reacted to it in the most Mariah way possible. She shook it off.
“It just don’t get any better,” Carey said sarcastically, as she quickly left the stage after six excruciatingly long minutes of trying to find a way into the performance. There were a couple of shaky, off-key starts that she quickly abandoned. “Happy New Year!” Carey told the crowd, as she tried to get through it. “We can’t hear . . . But I’ll just go through the motions.”
When the monitors didn’t come back for “Emotions,” she stood, hands on hip waiting, before saying, “We didn’t have a check for this song. . . . We’ll just say, ‘It went to No. 1’ and that’s what it is.”
After another false start of singing, she says, “We’re missing some of this vocal, but it is what it is.”
Maybe more damaging to Carey’s reputation, though, is that the backing track includes her trademark high-pitched notes, telegraphing her plans to lip sync during that part of the song.
“I’m trying to be a good sport here,” she says before the song ends. Though Carey’s songs are famously difficult to sing, she didn’t really try. Carey fared better on “We Belong Together,” but at a certain point she stopped trying to lip sync, not even holding the microphone to her mouth.
“[Expletive] happens,” Carey wrote in an emoji-filled tweet after the performance. “Have a happy and healthy new year everybody! Here’s to making more headlines in 2017.”