Mariah Carey was the headline act on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve special, broadcast live on ABC from New York City's Times Square, and her short performance did not go well. After stumbling through part of a pre-recorded track, Carey joked and talked through the rest of her set, at one point encouraging the audience to sing "Emotions." A Carey representative, Nicole Perna, said that Carey's earpiece wasn't working and blamed Dick Clark Productions, which runs the annual broadcast, for the debacle.
Carey "was not winging this moment and took it very seriously," Perna told Billboard. "A shame that production set her up to fail." Perna added that Dick Clark Productions promised to fix the problem with the earpiece before Carey took the stage, but instead "they went live." Carey's manager, Stella Bulochnikov, said she called DCP's Mark Shimmel after the performance, and rejected his suggestion they issue a joint statement. "I asked him to cut the West Coast feed," she added. "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.... It's not artist friendly, especially when the artist cut her vacation short as a New Year's Eve gift to them."
Dick Clark Productions hit back, issuing a statement Sunday night saying "we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists" and to suggest that the company "would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous, and frankly absurd." Technical errors do occur in live performances "in very rare instances," the statement added, but "an initial investigation has indicated that dcp had no involvement in the challenges associated with Ms. Carey's New Year's Eve performance." Sources tell Billboard and The Associated Press that while the other performers rehearsed beforehand, Carey sent a body double instead, and blamed Carey's technical crew for setting the earpiece to the wrong frequency.
In a tweet, Carey herself downplayed the mishap, saying that "s—t happens" and wishing everyone "a happy and healthy new year," with a gif of her shrugging. You can watch Carey's infamous performance below. Peter Weber