As American Idol becomes ever more dominated by spats between the judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, there are conflicting rumors about whether the pair really are at each other's throats, or whether the whole thing is all part of the show. Certainly Fox would have been aware of the pair's fractious past when signing them both up ,and it's hard to believe that they weren't hoping the pair wouldn't provide some stormy highlights for the show.

However, it's become more and more scripted if you believe an insider who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter. "The Mariah-Nicki diva battle is exactly what Fox executives wanted all along," says the source, who also insisted that the two singers were in on the joke. "No one's really worried. They know the parts they're supposed to play." According to someone else though, "Nicki went off and threatened Mariah."

So what's it to be? Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine, whose worked with both, commented "Let me tell you, neither of these girls are shy". Of Mariah he said "I was very bullish on Mariah. She gets songs and the process of producing. She really knows the studio. She has that experience, and let's remember that most people going on these shows want to be Mariah Carey." As for Minaj, Iovine commented: "Nicki is coming from a different place and another generation with her own incredibly legitimate opinions - some things that are important to Mariah will not be to Nicki. But if they each bring their truth, you could see an incredible dynamic because they're both smart as hell."