The trouble continued when she gave up on another of her best-known numbers, “We Belong Together,” while a prerecording of the song continued to play, a confirmation that she had been lip-syncing.
It was a rare meltdown on national television by one of the top-selling recording artists of all time. Ms. Carey, a pop phenomenon in the 1990s who won five Grammys out of 34 nominations over the years, was the final pre-midnight act on ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” She had just finished “Auld Lang Syne” when her star turn began to spiral out of control.
“We can’t hear,” she said in the opening seconds of “Emotions” after she sashayed down the stage before more than 1 million people gathered to watch the ball drop in Manhattan.
Standing still with her left hand on her hip while music played, Ms. Carey told the audience that there had not been a proper sound check before her performance. Then she said, “We’ll just sing,” and noted proudly of her song, “It went to No. 1.”
But she could not manage the notes that followed, and she either forgot lyrics or did not want to deliver a subpar performance.
“We’re missing some of these vocals, but it is what it is,” she said. “Let the audience sing.”
ABC quickly cut to shots of the Times Square crowd as Ms. Carey tried to perform some of her choreography. She continued suggesting fixes from the stage, and at one point seemed to defend herself. “I’m trying to be a good sport here,” she said.
On Sunday. Carey claimed her disastrous New Year’s Eve performance was an intentional set-up by the gig’s producers to raise ratings, according to The NY Post.
The singer’s team even sent in a written complaint Sunday to Dick Clark Productions that the sound and microphone systems she was given to use were deliberately sabotaged “so they could get Mariah drama,” TMZ said.
Carey’s staff pointed out the singer even complained about the sound during an interview with host Ryan Seacrest an hour before she took the stage in Times Square.
“It’s hard for me to hear you,” she told Seacrest, appearing visibly strained.
During the hour between talking to Seacrest and taking the stage, her handlers reportedly continually complained about her ear pieces — and the fact her mic pack was not working properly.
Once on stage, Carey encountered even more woes when she discovered the teleprompter wasn’t working, causing her to miss stage cues, her staff complained.
Variety reports Dick Clark Productions late Sunday issued a lengthy statement challenging Carey’s claims.
“As the premier producer of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists. To suggest that DCP, 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,” the statement said.
“In very rare instances there are of course technical errors that can occur with live television, however, an initial investigation has indicated that (Dick Clark Productions) had no involvement in the challenges associated with Ms. Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance. We want to be clear that we have the utmost respect for Ms. Carey as an artist and acknowledge her tremendous accomplishments in the industry,” the statement said.