Dick Clark Productions isn’t taking claims that it sabotaged Mariah Carey’s disastrous New Year’s Eve performance lightly.
TMZ reported Sunday that representatives for Carey complained that the diva’s troubled performance on the New Year’s Eve special was set up by the show’s producers “so they could get Mariah drama.”
Carey’s team claimed in a written complaint to Dick Clark Productions that her sound and microphone systems were deliberately sabotaged. The report also said that Carey and her team repeatedly complained that her earpieces were not working.
Her representative Nicole Perna blamed technical difficulties and told Billboard that the production crew hampered Carey’s lackluster performance.
"She was not winging this moment and took it very seriously," Perna told Billboard. "A shame that production set her up to fail."
Perna said Carey's earpiece wasn't working and she flagged the issue to the production team but was told it would be OK when she got on stage.
"However, that was not the case, and they were again told that her earpiece was not working," Perna said. "Instead of endeavoring to fix the issue so that Mariah could perform, they went live."
Dick Clark Productions responded later Sunday in a statement calling the claims “absurd.”
"As the premier producer of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists," it said. "To suggest that dcp (Dick Clark Productions), 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."
It said that in "very rare instances" there are technical errors that can occur with live television. It said an initial investigation, however, indicated it had no involvement in the challenges associated with Carey's 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," it said.
A person familiar with the production of the show who asked for anonymity to speak publicly about the incident said all of the other performers, including Gloria Estefan, rehearsed onsite for their performances and Carey was there but had a stand-in for her rehearsal, atypical for the show's performers. The person said all of the monitors were working and no technical problems were found.
While on stage Saturday, Carey’s mood seemed to range from frustration to resignation as she struggled with the pre-recorded musical tracks. Telling the revelers jammed into New York City's Times Square that there had not been a sound check for her hit song "Emotions," she lamented that "we're missing some of these vocals, but it is what it is."
"Let the audience sing," she decided as she paced the stage
. "I'm trying to be a good sport here," she said, adding her own sarcastic review of the performance. "That was ... amazing."
The next song, "We Belong Together," went no better. At times, she lowered the microphone from her mouth and the music, vocals and all, kept playing, making it clear she was lip-synching.
Carey later tweeted about the night, starting with a brief profanity, throwing in a couple of sad emojis and concluding with, "Here's to making more headlines in 2017."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.