Mariah Carey's husband Nick Cannon has accused American Idol producers of leaking video footage of his wife and Nicki Minaj's judging dispute during an audition on Tuesday (02Oct12) to boost interest in the revamped talent show.
The TV personality and actor was bombarded with questions about the tiff, which was leaked to news website TMZ.com, when he arrived for an interview with Access Hollywood Live hosts Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Wednesday (03Oct12), but quickly dismissed the "catfight" as a sidebar for the hit show.
And he took the opportunity to admonish producers for leaking the footage.
Nick Cannon stated, "I feel like it's taking away from the quality of what Idol is all about; this is about people accomplishing their dreams and experts guiding these young people to do what they've done.
"I'm kind of disappointed in (TV network bosses at) Fox because they're taking away from the quality of what Idol is."
Asked if he thought the footage was leaded on purpose, he added, "How else would all that stuff get on TMZ?"
And Nick Cannon assured the hosts that his wife is unmoved by all the drama: "My wife is the strongest and the classiest woman that I've ever met. If you watch the video she just maintains her composure... 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 and this is like a sidebar. I hope that's not what this show becomes about - the catfights."
Good-natured Nick Cannon then agreed to play fellow judge Randy Jackson as Bush and Hoover reenacted the squabble using a transcript from the video footage.
Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, the two new judges on the show, were filming an audition in Charlotte, North Carolina when a disagreement over a wannabe turned nasty.
In the video footage posted online, an angry Nicki Minaj shouts and swears at the Hero hitmaker, telling producers, "I told them, I'm not f**kin' putting up with her f**kin' highness over there."
But Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe has shot down unconfirmed reports that Nicki Minaj threatened to kill Mariah Carey as the rant continued off camera.