Millions of viewers and thousands more congregated in New York City witnessed Mariah Carey’s technical difficulties-marred performance, which featured the singer proceeding with the choreographed dance moves while making little effort to actually sing the music, often just speaking directly to the crowd about the sound issues.
In a statement to Billboard, Mariah Carey’s manager, Stella Bulochnikov blamed Dick Clark Productions for continuing with the performance even though Carey’s in-ear monitors weren’t working before she took the stage, as well as not removing the soon-to-be-viral performance from the West Coast feed of the Rockin’ Eve special.
“We told [the stage managers] that the in-ears were not working 10 minutes before the performance,” Bulochnikov said. “They then changed the battery pack, and they were still not working on the frequency four minutes before the show. We let them know again, and they just kept counting her down and reassuring her that they will work as soon as they go live, which never happened.”
After the six-minute performance, Bulochnikov called an Dick Clark Productions exec to ask if they would remove Carey from the West Coast feed. “He said he could not do that. I asked him why would they want to run a performance with mechanical glitches unless they just want eyeballs at any expense,” Bulochnikov said. “It’s not artist friendly.” The West Coast feed aired unedited.
In a separate statement, Carey’s representative Nicole Perna said Dick Clark Productions “set [Carey] up to fail.” However, Dick Clark Productions strongly denied conspiring against Carey or her performance in their own statement that responds to the Carey team’s allegations.
“To suggest that DCP… 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 DCP had no involvement in the challenges associated with Ms. Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance,” Dick Clark Productions said in a statement. “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.”
During the New Year’s performance of “Emotions,” Carey noted that “we didn’t have a check for this song,” meaning a soundcheck to rehearse the track. However, Dick Clark Productions told TMZ that it was Carey who refused to do a soundcheck for the performance, and that despite the in-ear monitor issues, there was ample sound on stage to hear the backing track. Carey’s rep, however, contended that the music was drowned out by the Times Square crowd.
Billboard added that the likely culprit in the New Year’s gaffe was an in-ear monitor that was set to the wrong frequency, an error that rested with Carey’s tech team. Soon after the Rockin’ Eve special, Carey joked about the performance as it was going viral, tweeting that “Shit 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