Even if you went to bed before the ball dropped, you’ve probably heard about Mariah Carey’s much-talked about performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
Here’s the short version. She started to sing “Auld Lang Syne” when suddenly the music switched to one of her hits – one she says she hadn’t planned on performing. Then she began making comments about “vocals” being missing and monitors that weren’t on, “trying to be a good sport here,” she says before finally giving up and walking off stage.
What was clear to the millions of people watching both in Times Square and on TV, was that Mariah was supposed to be lipsyncing her hits but couldn’t get it right due to technical difficulties. It’s live TV. It’s Time Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s cold. The fact more things haven’t gone wrong in the past 10 plus years is a testament to the hard-working ABC production team. Happy New Year.
On the morning after, the embarrassing slip-up grew turned into a New Year’s Eve disaster to rival that of the SS Poseidon.
To protect the singer’s reputation, her camp accused ABC of causing the entire debacle. Even worse, they suggested that it wasn’t just a case of incompetence, that it was actually a choreographed ratings grab.
The root of the problem appears to have been with Mariah’s ear piece which, according to her, wasn’t working properly. She claims she reported the problem before the show began but was assured that it would be fine. It wasn’t fine. She couldn’t hear the music and thus wasn’t able to sing.
But after pointing fingers at ABC, the production company shot back with a few barbs of their own:
“In very rare instances there are of course technical errors that can occur with live television, however, an initial investigation has indicated that dcp had no involvement in the challenges associated with Ms. Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance.” Sources for Dick Clark Productions also noted that Ms Mariah refused to rehearse prior to the show, sending her stand-in to stand-in for her during the run through.
The statement from the production company went on to say:
“As the premier producer of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists. To suggest that dcp (Dick Clark Productions), as producer of music shows including the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and Academy of Country Music Awards, would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd,”
It is absurd. Really.
ABC could have cut to commercial, or switched to the West Coast feed but they didn’t. Perhaps Mariah could have asked them to stop the track so she could simply sing just as she’s sung a thousand times before – but she didn’t
Perhaps, in all the noise and confusion, nothing could have been done to change the way it went down. It’s live TV. Things happen. Things that are a lot worse than this. The real damage is not what happened on New Year’s Eve but what happened on New Year’s Day and is still happening as all parties play the blame game.
Mariah’s camp may think they’re protecting the singer’s reputation with these accusations but they’re actually making her look worse. Even if the production team was at fault, a simple “there were technical issues and I’m sorry it wasn’t up to my usual standards” would have made this a non-issue by the end of the Rose Bowl. The world understands technical issues. What they don’t understand is an experienced performer throwing shade on the production company named for a beloved star.
What’s rough is the fact that Mariah herself is still taking the blows when she’s clearly already put the incident behind her. But those blows are going to continue as long as her staff continue to give the press sound bites like: “She should have walked off and thrown the mic at somebody’s head — that would have been a great moment”
Reputation lesson for today: watch out for the people who are trying to protect you, because they could be doing you way more harm than good.