As Mariah Carey showed on ABC New Year’s Eve, anything can happen on live TV. A performance by the songstress went way off the rails; Carey cited numerous production glitches as backing tracks rolled, and she halfheartedly sashayed across the Times Square stage.
Carey performed a little before midnight on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest. Host Seacrest tried to make the most of the broken play. “No matter what Mariah does, the crowd absolutely loves it,” he said after Carey was done.
Live TV performances are of course high-wire acts, and New Year’s Eve in Manhattan presents its own batch of unique challenges. Pre-recorded vocal tracks are the norm in such a setting.
Carey’s ABC gig has spawned a fair bit of schadenfreude, and millions of YouTube views. One clip titled “Mariah Carey NYE Performance Mess” has over 10.5 million views at presstime; “Mariah Carey Caught LIPSYNCING at Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve 2017” has 10.5 million.
Carey’s camp blamed a faulty earpiece and suggested producers were unwilling to help. Dick Clark Productions countered in a statement: “To suggest that dcp (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."
Amidst various career peaks and valleys, Carey has been a prolific maker of pop hits since she burst onto the scene in 1990. She stars in a docuseries called Mariah’s World that debuted on E! Dec. 4.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.