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American Idol producers play down Mariah Carey/Nicki Minaj controversy

AMERICAN IDOL bosses have played down the drama between co-judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey following a vicious on set bust-up this week (begs01Oct12), insisting the line-up is "one of the best, most passionate" panels they've ever had.

The two new additions to the show were filming an audition in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday (02Oct12) when they became embroiled in a huge argument over a contestant, with the Starships hitmaker unleashing a furious, foul-mouthed tirade at Mariah Carey.

Footage of the fall-out leaked online and reports suggest Nicki Minaj continued her rant as she walked off set, and allegedly raged, "If I had a gun I would shoot her (Mariah Carey)."

Idol's executive producer Nigel Lythgoe insisted the death threat story is "absolute rubbish", while Mariah Carey later admitted she was beefing up her security for her own protection - prompting Nicki Minaj to accuse her co-judge of playing up the incident to gain public sympathy.

However, TV bosses have now released a statement in a bid to move on from the controversy, insisting they "can't imagine a better group" to be on the judging panel this year (12).

The note, released on Friday (05Oct12) reads, "This is one of the best, most passionate, dynamic and invested judging panels we've ever had. We love and support all of the judges and the fantastic work they are doing, and we can't imagine a better group to find the next American Idol.

"Despite all the accusations and media speculation - much of which is inaccurate - production is going extremely well today and the judges are focused on finding the best talent here in Baton Rouge (Louisiana)."

Country star Keith Urban has also joined original judge Randy Jackson on the Idol panel following the departure of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez earlier this year (12).

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