‘American Idol’ judges Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey make nice — for now

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With just a week until the premiere of "American Idol" Season 12, the newly assembled cast of characters -- er, judges -- recently sat down at the Television Critics Association panel in Pasadena to chat about the upcoming season. And they were like one big happy family. Well, sort of.

Mariah Carey joked that the new judges' panel -- which includes herself, rapper Nicki Minaj, country singer Keith Urban, and perennial "Idol" judge Randy Jackson -- is "putting the 'fun' back in dysfunction," but everyone assured that all is good among the eclectic new cast.

But lest you think Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey have completely made up, the diva duo made sure to dish up some thinly veiled digs as they promoted the Season 12 premiere of the long-running FOX singing competition.

When prompted by one TV critic to compliment one another, Minaj called Carey one of her "favorite artists of all time," adding that the pop superstar has "really shaped a generation of singers."

"To be on a panel with her, it's kind of crazy because these singers aspire to be a Mariah Carey. So I feel excited to see them so excited," Minaj said.

Carey returned the props -- sort of -- saying, "That was obviously a sweet thing to say... I know and feel that she's going to go very far and am grateful for anything nice that she or anyone says about me."

But amid the niceties, the ladies' body language was worth a thousand words, especially Minaj's, who reportedly sat with her arms crossed and appeared sullen during the proceedings. And later, when Carey called the highly publicized feud "one sided," Minaj barked back that "No, it wasn't," thank you very much.

There were some light-hearted moments. apparently. According to Us Weekly, when one reporter asked the dueling divas, "How did it get better between you two? Did you have a bottle of wine?" Minaj shot back with a surprising answer: "I put on my sex tape." (We don't think she's kidding!)

Later she complained, "Every time we try to talk about the contestants, we have to field questions about [this]… Have you ever had an argument with someone you work with?"

The panel sit-down came just a day after ABC aired a "Nightline" interview with Mariah Carey, who told Barbara Walters that she hired extra security last summer after Minaj allegedly threatened to shoot her with a gun during an explosive argument on the "Idol" set.

"It felt like an unsafe work environment," the "Butterfly" singer said. "Anytime anybody's reeling threats at somebody, you know, it's not appropriate. I'm a professional. I'm not used to that type of environment. Sitting there on the road with two babies [20-month-old twins Moroccan and Monroe], I'm not going to take any chances."

When Walters asked Carey if she's the "b----" that Minaj is singing about in her new song "Hell Yeah" (the lyric goes: "I'll take it, sign on the dotted line/But I'm quick to check a b---- if she's outta line ... Why these bums so mad that the queen on 'Idol'?"), the pop superstar replied, "Don't know."

"Don't know what she sang," she added. "Didn't know she sang, I thought she rapped, or whatever."

Tonight all of the judges will be on hand for a live interactive Q&A with fans (more info on the here), and with any luck, they'll have a chance to talk about more than this family feud.

Season 12 of "American Idol" premieres on Wednesday, 1/16 at 8 PM on FOX.

More from this contributor:

Life after 'American Idol': What the former judges have to say

'American Idol' judges' drama plays out on Twitter

How will Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban stack up against other judges?

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