By the end of the panel for Mariah Carey’s upcoming docuseries “Mariah’s World” at the Television Critics Assn. Press Tour in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, attendees were entertained, if not informed.
From start to finish, Carey’s panel was a performance: from her bedazzled microphone and oversized purple chaise to her six shirtless (and oiled) male dancers. All were offered up to promote her new series that will feature behind-the-scenes footage of the making of her upcoming album, as well as her first European tour in over a decade.
“So this is perfectly normal,” Carey purred while perched on the back of a particularly strapping young man before relocating to the aforementioned chaise.
The exaggerated persona Carey put on throughout the panel -- underlined by the jokey makeup touch-up she has mid-session and the pauses mid-sentence to pose for official photographers -- served as a nod to two separate but equally important aspects of Carey’s life: how she is perceived in her celebrity and how her life actually is atypical.
“I don’t know that anybody really knows the real me,” Carey said. “If somebody sees me on TV, it’s not enough time to get to know somebody. Hopefully they’ll see other sides of me.”
Carey pointed out, both in word and deed, that she can be “a bit of a jokestress,” in addition to being a little bossy. But she stressed that, above all, she’s just trying to be a nice person.
“There are things that happen and you just go with it,” she said.
Though that doesn’t mean that she’s always able to go with the flow.
“I think I’m already directing. I can’t help it,” Carey said, striking a pose on her chaise and later admitting, “I’m a closet editor. I kind of can’t help but give notes.”
She also differentiated between what most reality shows do and what she hopes will be achieved by her series.
“I don’t even know what reality is, literally, in the terms of real and not real,” Carey joked, clarifying that she doesn’t watch reality television.
Since the show doesn’t air until December, final edits have yet to be made on the episodes, a fact that left the panel short on specifics. Carey’s ex-husband Nick Cannon may show up. Or he may not.
Cannon came around during filming, Carey explained before demurring, “We’ll see what makes final cut.”
Carey and Cannon’s children, 5-year-old fraternal twins Rocco and Monroe will also appear in the series, as evidenced in the teaser aired before the panel.
As far as the actual filming has gone, Carey acknowledges it’s been a learning process.
“I think we’re still drawing lines,” Carey said with regard to what her limits are with filming.
“In the beginning, I was a little bit withholding with the amount of access I was giving [the cameras]. I never know who to trust and I was a little less free with my personality,” Carey said.
On Wednesday, however, Carey had no qualms about letting herself be real, at one point bemoaning a question that she had a tendency to throw shade or criticism at others, just moments before cheekily rejecting a question about up-and-coming female artists because, “It’s not their day!”
With filming for the eight-episode series still underway, Carey is not without a concrete vision for “Mariah’s World.”
“My goal is to make it something that can be a lasting piece of work for my fans or even just great footage for my kids and for myself,” Carey said.
“Mariah’s World” premieres Sunday, Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. on E!