Mariah Carey closed 2016 with a disastrous performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, her three-song set ravaged by technical difficulties. While the pop star and her reps maintain the program’s production team is to blame — they even suggest it was an act of sabotage — others working the event that night tell a much different story.
According to Carey, she couldn’t hear through her monitors during the last two songs of her performance, “Emotions” and “We Belong Together”. Prior to taking the stage, her earpiece wasn’t working correctly and production was promptly informed. “However, that was not the case and they were again told that her ear piece was not working. Instead of endeavoring to fix the issue so that Mariah could perform, they went live,” BWR-PR’s Nicole Perna tells Billboard.
Reps note that Carey’s rehearsal earlier in the day went on without a hitch and “no sound issues,” and that the singer had done her part in terms of preparation. “She was not ‘winging’ this moment and took it very seriously,” adds Perna. “A shame that production set her up to fail.”
Those tasked with working the Dick Clark New Year’s Eve event refute any allegations of sabotage. “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 (via Rolling Stone).
Sources on the production side instead tell Billboard that it was an ill-prepared Carey who was at fault, and that she “had ample time to rehearse and chose not to.” The same sources claim Carey used a body double in her place during rehearsals. When it came time for the big show, everything was functioning as it should have been. “Every monitor and in-ear device worked perfectly,” an audio producer named Robert Goldstein tells the New York Times. “I can’t comment beyond that and don’t know what her nontechnical issue may have been.”
Revisit the cringeworthy performance below.