American Idol fans worried that the resident Loopy Judge Chair, first occupied by Paula Abdul and then proudly taken over by Steven Tyler, would go vacant next season following the Aerosmith star’s departure from the show should fret no more: Mariah Carey is coming. The diva, who was confirmed as the long-running Fox talent competition’s newest judge Monday, is notorious for her delirious, rambling, and hilariously self-involved TV appearances. As audiences gear up for more crazy with Carey’s Idol gig, here’s a look back at some of her wildest TV moments.
Always (Whine About) My Baby
“People will watch this and be like, ‘Oh, Mariah Carey, complaining about her pregnancy,’ and I don’t want to do that,” Carey says during an October 2011 20/20 interview with Barbara Walters about the birth of her twins, before proceeding to complain about hormones, her body changing, feeling ugly, her misery, it hurting to walk, and needing help walking during her pregnancy. The most interesting non-whiney tidbit: Carey insisted that a live version of her hit song “Fantasy” play as her twins were birthed, “so they could hear the applause as they entered the world.”
Buy My Products, Dahling
Carey’s appearances on home shopping channels are historically kooky, but none top her July 2011 segment on HSN, one of her first on-camera appearances after giving birth to her twins. The sales pitch had more unrelated tangents than her songs have vocal runs, with Carey carping about her pregnancy, flicking her hand at nonexistent butterflies, forgetting the prices of her products, inventing words like “grandtastic” and “camouflagian,” barking orders at the camera crew, and demanding that only “festive” callers speak on air.
That’s My Line!
Reports of diva behavior have followed Carey for nearly her entire career, and a prime example was nationally televised during a May 2011 performance of her single “Touch My Body” on Good Morning America. When a backup singer starts singing Carey’s line, the star reels her head and wags her finger as she scolds—in tune—“Stop singing my part now, baby.” No doubt a hiring notice for a new backup singer went up promptly following the performance.
Crazy Train Arrives at the Oscars
The media was giddily on board the “Mariah Carey crazy train” in early 2010, as each successive appearance by the star on her promo tour for the gritty drama Precious, in which she had a surprisingly well-received supporting role, was loopier than one before it. It all came to a fitting climax at the 2010 Academy Awards, during Ryan Seacrest’s joint red carpet interview with Carey and husband Nick Cannon, each in peak loony form.
I’ll Drink to That
In January 2010, Carey received the Best Breakthrough Performance award at the Palm Springs Film Festival for her turn as a social worker Precious. After trading baffling inside jokes with director Lee Daniels, who presented her with the award, Carey prefaced her meandering speech—which covered everything from kittens to Helen Mirren—with “Please forgive me, because I’m a little bit …” Carey said, as an audience member calls out, “Drunk!” The champagne-fueled chortle that followed reveals why Carey’s boozy speech made national headlines the next day.
The Diva’s Domain
Appearing on a 2002 episode of MTV Cribs, Carey shows off her New York apartment’s full-blown salon and closet room with a gold-leaf “M” on the floor and chandelier hanging from the ceiling, changing her “ensemble” at least half a dozen times as she tours the house, and concluding everything by crawling into her hot tub fully clothed. And you thought House Hunters was good TV.
Mariah’s ‘TRL’ Meltdown
It’s the wacky moment that launched them all. Wearing an oversize T-shirt and pushing an ice cream cart, Carey showed up unannounced at July 2001 taping of MTV’s video countdown show Total Request Live. In the clip, she strips off the tee before launching into a nonsensical stream of consciousness about ice cream, swimming pools, money, her mother, and rainbows. Host Carson Daly looks directly into the camera and says, “Mariah Carey’s lost her mind,” voicing the inner monologues of a nation of gobsmacked viewers. A week later, the star checked into a hospital, citing “extreme exhaustion.”