Who’s to blame for Mariah Carey’s not-so-rockin’ New Year’s Eve? Depends who you ask

Mariah Carey performs during the New Year's Eve Countdown at Times Square.
(Eugene Gologursky / Getty Images)

The day after Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve nightmare in Times Square, the blame game began to explain why she could not — or would not — sing during her appearance on the nationally televised “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.”

After leading off the six-minute performance with a brief rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” Carey strutted through outstretched feathers and down a few steps, backed by the music from her own hit song “Emotions.” Yet she did not sing after the music had started.

“Well, happy New Year!” the pop diva told the crowd, not sounding particularly happy. “We can’t hear, but I’ll just get through the moment, OK.”


But the ensuing four minutes were just barely gotten through, plagued by awkward pauses, excuses (“We didn’t have a [sound] check for this song, so we’ll just say it went to No. 1, and that’s what it is,” the singer noted) and televised cut-aways from the on-stage disaster to Times Square revelers.

So what went wrong?

Carey’s spokeswoman blamed the televised train wreck on technical difficulties.

“Unfortunately there was nothing she could do to continue with the performance given the circumstances,” spokeswoman Nicole Perna said.

Gossip website TMZ went one step further, reporting that sources connected with the singer said Carey, before taking the stage, repeatedly complained that her earpieces were not working. The same sources also told TMZ that the teleprompter didn’t work either. They blame Dick Clark Productions, saying the malfunctions were acts of sabotage to “get Mariah drama.”

Contacted by the L.A. Times, a Dick Clark Productions spokesperson disputed allegations that the company had anything to do with the technical issues, saying that Carey herself declined to do a sound check. The spokesperson added that there were eight stage monitors amplifying the prerecorded music, which should have allowed Carey to hear it just fine, even without the aid of an earpiece.

A further source close to the production, not authorized to speak on the record, noted that the choreography of Carey’s dancers remained on point throughout the performance, proving there wasn’t an issue with the sound.

“That music was blaring,” the source said. “Everyone could hear it.”

An audio producer who worked on the event told the New York Times in an email that there were no issues with the sound equipment that he supervised.


“Every monitor and in-ear device worked perfectly,” said Robert Goldstein, owner of Maryland Sound International, a company that has worked the Times Square event previously.“ I can’t comment beyond that and don’t know what her nontechnical issue may have been.”

Carey ended her New Year’s Eve performance with a brief stab at her 2005 song “We Belong Together,” but her singing didn’t sync with the prerecorded music. After about a minute, she stopped singing, dropping the microphone to her side. But the track — including Carey’s vocal — kept playing.

“It just don’t get any better,” the frustrated pop diva said sarcastically, exiting the stage.

On New Year’s Day on Twitter, Carey offered neither an apology nor much of an explanation. Bad things happen, she wrote, using a popular expletive in the wording, followed by the weary-face emoji. “Have a happy and healthy new year everybody! Here’s to making more headlines in 2017 .”

Twitter: @glennwhipp


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2:40 p.m.: This article was updated with comment from Dick Clark Productions.

This article was originally published at 1:35 p.m.

4:10 p.m.: This article was updated with further comment.

This article was originally published at 1:35 p.m.