Not everyone on a project is going to get along all the time…especially when the people involved are huge superstars, travelling and shooting for days at a time…But the question is, how much is American Idol pitting their celeb judges against each other for ratings?

When Nicki Minaj was announced as a new judge on American Idol, there were rumors that fellow judge Mariah Carey reacted with less than enthusiastic open-arms. Then on Sept. 17, TMZ reported that Nicki and Mariah bumped heads because  Mariah kept interrupting Nicki on camera. But producer/host Ryan Seacrest tried to put out the fire, even going onto The Today Show to insist that Nicki and Mariah “got along fine.”

TMZ is now reporting that the two women exchanged words during the American Idol auditions in Charlotte, North Carolina….and even posted some shaky footage.
Watch, after the jump…

UPDATES: According to TMZ, sources close to Nicki claim that Mariah actually ignited the verbal brawl by repeatedly calling her a “bitch.” The constant jabs eventually pushed Nicki over the edge, causing her to unleash a tirade of colorful words (that was then captured on the viral TMZ video). The sources also claim that Mariah has spent the majority of her time on the show bragging about her own accomplishments instead of judging the contestants.

Hubby Nick Cannon has also issued a comment on the Idol footage. Read what Nick and the TMZ inside source had to say about the alleged Nicki/Mariah beef, after the jump…

UPDATES [cont.]: TMZ’s source defends Nicki and calls out Mariah’s narcism:

“She keeps bringing up how many records she’s sold, name dropping people she’s worked with, how many tours she’s done, and how many Grammys or awards she’s won … Nicki is tired of it.”

Meanwhile (and expectedly) Nick Cannon runs to his wife’s defense:

“My wife is the strongest and the classiest woman I’ve ever met. If you watch the video she just maintains her composure like she does. I don’t think she’s moved by the theatrics and the pageantry of it all. She signed up to do a job to help young people accomplish their dreams. I hope this is not what the show is about, is the cat fights.”

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(TMZ’s footage of Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey…caught at the American Idol auditions in Charlotte, NC.)

Here’s what Ryan Seacrest said on The Today Show two weeks ago (via HuffPo):

Seacrest stressed that the two “get along fine,” but conceded that their strong personalities have clashed a time or two.
“There are not too many dull moments between the two of them, but at the end of the day, we all hug and laugh and go home and get ready for another day. They get along fine, but they’re strong and candid in their opinion.”

And during early A.I. press conferences, Nicki and Mariah dismissed questions about possible tensions:

Carey tried to quell rumors about her quarreling with Minaj by saying they’ve only been together two days and “a feud takes a little longer to happen.”
All the judges burst into laughter.
Minaj says the new “Idol” judges are “getting along wonderfully, darling.”

So it seems that things are less peachy these days…but with all that that debate before auditions even began, any ill will was practically pre-written. Both Nicki and Mariah have probably had plenty of tiffs with peers in the past that have blown over. Perfect example…there was a scene in Nicki’s MTV documentary of her venting about a fellow artist. Without naming the subject, I can tell you, they’ve appeared onstage together without any visible tension.

Do you think the producers of American Idol leaked out this footage to TMZ themselves? Hmm….

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Related:
Nicki Minaj & Mariah Carey Begin ‘American Idol’ Auditions in NYC