An estimated one million people shuffled into Times Square in New York City on New Years Eve, joined by several million watching from the comfort of their homes. We had witnessed a historical year, and some things are not exactly considered to be fantastic milestones. The events of 2016 contained the loss of so many beloved artists, actors, and entertainers — right up until the end. The anticipation of welcoming 2017 ramped up as the clock drew closer to midnight. The one person who might have felt like time was standing still more than anyone was superstar Mariah Carey.
Carey has been a monumental performer through the years, known for her ability to sing well within the whistle register. Not so much the case these days, we’re afraid. While there is no doubt that Carey is one of the biggest divas in pop music, she’s had many concerts and appearances throughout her long career. Having as many performances under her belt as she does, something is bound to go wrong during at least one. And it did, with the whole world watching that fateful night during Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC.
No one could escape witnessing what would become the focus of the entire event. Technical difficulties involving backing tracks and glitchy in-ear monitors paved the way for a trainwreck of a performance that was the final act that summed up the insanity of the year 2016. During the first number “Auld Lang Syne,” it became immediately apparent that something was awry as Mariah Carey’s lips weren’t matching with the track during the segment. That could have plausibly been chalked up to a problem between the camera feed and sound.
The medley fell apart during her hit “Emotions,” when the backing track was, according to Carey and her representatives, not coming through her monitors. She could be seen fumbling with the earpiece several times throughout. Instead of the feed being cut to address the issues, which were far from reparable, Carey kind of just sashayed around the stage with her dancers, looking very uncomfortable and trying to keep the crowd engaged by making them sing along to her track instead. It was tough to watch, really. ”We Belong Together” was the final song in the set.
As the intro came on, Carey explained, “Now this is the album version, so I’m just going to let you put this thing on me and sing along.”
The whole performance was basically a wash, which led to the singer giving a lackluster rendition of “We Belong Together,” closing the night of performances before the ball drop. She walked off the stage with her dancers, at which point the camera cut to Seacrest, who attempted to smooth everything over.
Mariah Carey’s manager, Stella Bulochnikov, gave an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly and spared no detail when explaining their side of the story. While it was unfortunate that the performance happened the way it did, it seems highly unlikely that members of the crew hired by either Carey or Dick Clark Productions would purposefully participate in some sort of nefarious plan to derail Mariah Carey’s performance. Bulochnikov also explained away the rumors that Carey skipped rehearsal and the allegations of lip-syncing were also addressed by Bulochnikov:
“No. It’s not lip-syncing. Lip-syncing is when people don’t sing at all. This is what people should understand. Every artist sings to a track, especially in circumstances like that when it’s really loud and impossible to have a great musical performance. You’re not singing at the Philharmonic. Every artist who goes out there sings to tracks. What Mariah was doing was singing to tracks. What you heard on the second song, “Emotions,” was her going to sing it live. That’s why you heard no vocals. It’s a song she sings every other day.”
Dick Clark Productions has also issued a statement about the marred performance:
“As the premier producer of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists,” begins the clearly perturbed statement. “To suggest that [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. In very rare instances there are of course technical errors that can occur with live television, however, an initial investigation has indicated that [Dick Clark Productions] 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.”
While it was understood that DCP had no intent on destroying Carey’s musical performance, someone does need to be held responsible for the technical difficulties associated with the faulty in-ear monitor and the alleged ignoring of requests for running checks before going live on national television.
Regardless of whether or not we will really know the truth about what actually happened that night, Mariah Carey is still a huge star and will carry on.
She said it herself, “S*** happens!”
Shit happens 😩 Have a happy and healthy new year everybody!🎉 Here’s to making more headlines in 2017 😂 pic.twitter.com/0Td8se57jr
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) January 1, 2017