So What REALLY Happened with Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve Performance? Watch This: I Defend Her.

Watch this. I’m going to defend Mariah Carey.

Mariah Carey’s train wreck performance on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s has nearly broken the Internet. Tweets have been flying, TV networks have been all over it (it’s a slow time of the year for news) and accusations have been pitched back and forth between Carey’s camp and the producers of the show at ABC. There are cries of sabotage in the interest of ratings, shock (shock!) at the fact that the performance was actually a lip sync and various reports of ultra-diva behavior. And no doubt someone within the Carey camp has already been exiled to Siberia.

The performance was clearly a disaster, a fiasco.

https://youtu.be/UkTy_vSPkWc

But what really happened? Watch the video again and let’s map it out.

  • Yes, this was going to be a lip sync performance–and if this came as a surprise to you, you need to stand in the corner for a while.
  • It appears that Carey had at least two versions of the songs she was to perform. The first was a full vocal version requiring just miming to the words. The second was an instrumental to which she sings live. It looks like she was expecting the first version, but for some reason, the second version–the one without her vocals–was played. She was suddenly forced to sing when she clearly wasn’t expecting to. That was problem number one.
  • Then problem number two. Sometime after she finished “Auld Lang Syne,” it appears that she couldn’t hear herself. Some monitors weren’t working, including her earpiece. As any performer knows, once your monitors crap out and you can’t hear yourself, the performance is doomed. All Mariah could do is try to fake her way through the whole thing.

UPDATE: Here’s what Entertainment Weekly uncovered. It repeats much of what I just said about the earpiece monitors.

Props to Mariah for finishing her appearance. She could have run off like Milli Vanilli or Ashley Simpson when the technical malfunction hit, but she finished her appearance. Like she said in tweet, “Shit happens.”

So: not her fault. But it’ll be a while before this dies down. See?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “So What REALLY Happened with Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve Performance? Watch This: I Defend Her.

  • January 2, 2017 at 8:53 am
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    Hey Alan! Appreciated the breakdown of things. One note: It was Ashley Simpson, not Jessica, who had the tech issues on SNL I believe you are referring to.

    Reply
  • January 2, 2017 at 10:36 am
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    She wasn’t lip syncing…artists use a performance track with everything except the lead vocals. The problem was that she had no stage monitors and couldn’t hear thru her ear piece to tell when the track was playing.

    IE: don’t think of it as lip syncing…think of it as karaoke without the benefit of being able to see the words or hear the music lol

    She gave up because she couldn’t hear the music track to find her place in the song. Other articles are saying there was a vocal track but all I heard was music and back up vocals so now I’m not sure. The clip doesn’t have the lead vocals…only backup.

    Reply
  • March 14, 2017 at 10:02 am
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    Hey Alan! Appreciated the breakdown of things. One note: It was Ashley Simpson, not Jessica, who had the tech issues on SNL I believe you are referring to.

    Reply

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