Did Mariah Deliberately Bomb Her NYE Performance?

by Amy Roberts
Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

As someone who counts herself as a lifetime fan of the singer, Mariah Carey's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve performance was mortifying to watch. The performance — which featured Carey failing to sing along to her song "Emotions" during a medley of her hits — felt out of character for the singer, and completely surprising. Some people on social media even wondered whether Carey bombed her performance on purpose. But as a musician myself, I can completely relate to her experience — sometimes you simply cannot continue with a troubled performance, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about that.

After the show, Carey's representatives issued the following statement to Bustle which certainly seemed to reflect the latter idea: "There was a production issue. Technical difficulties. There unfortunately was nothing she could do to continue with the performance given the circumstances."

Which I'm more than happy to accept in order to move on with my life and pretend that this entire awkward episode never happened. Except, we live in extremely cynical times right now, and as mentioned above, there's already chatter across social media alleging that Carey deliberately bombed her New Year's Eve performance as a vehicle for self-promotion. If I'm being perfectly honest, that feels a little farfetched.

Would Carey seriously sabotage her own performance just to make headlines? I'm not inclined to think so, but let's examine some of the evidence which suggests that she did because I can definitely feel a conspiracy brewing.

1. She Was Surprisingly Chill About Bombing Live On Air

Seriously, she took every second of the failed performance in her stride and turned the show into a masterclass of self-deprecating humor. Of course, this could be due to the fact that Carey is a seasoned professional who's always prepared for the unpredictable nature of a live show. But if you're feeling supremely cynical, then her blasé response to the performance could well indicate that it was totally planned.

2. She Shared Evidence Of A Rehearsal On Twitter

As seen in the video of the performance, Carey can be heard saying, "We didn't have a check for this song, so I'll just say it went to No. 1 and that's what it is. We're missing some of this vocal, but it is what it is," as the backing track for "Emotions" plays on in the background. Though it's perfectly plausible that her rehearsal didn't feature a run through of the song in question, it does seem a little odd that it would be missed off completely.

This feels all the more strange considering the fact that Carey's Twitter post clearly shows that the choreography for the performance looking as though it was being practiced. In particular, note the feathers in the background, and the two dancers carrying her whom she directs to "just walk me down" when she appears to refuse their attempt to lift her.

3. Mariah's World, Her New Reality TV Show, Needs Promoting

If you're of the opinion that people will willingly embarrass themselves in public for the sweet rewards of publicity, then this theory is for you. And since Mariah's World — an eight-part TV event documenting the personal and professional life of the superstar — premiered at the start of December 2016 on E!, this theory definitely has at least a little weight to it.

4. She Might Be Dropping A New Album Soon

The development of Carey's next album has been a topic of discussion throughout 2016, and though the singer has remained tightlipped about it, there's a definite chance it could enjoy a surprise release any day now. Which, considering that the singer has her reality show and the trending nature of this performance keeping her name in the media, could make absolute sense.

5. She Knows That A Bad Headline Can Be Just As Effective As A Good One

On Instagram, Carey celebrated the start of 2017 and provided a response regarding her performance by sharing the above gif with the statement: "Sh*t happens. Have a happy and healthy new year [sic] everybody! Here's to making more headlines in 2017." Clearly, Carey appreciates the value of making headlines, regardless of whether those headlines are for good or bad things. Like, say, a disastrous performance on live television. And honestly, I absolutely adore her for it.

6. She Knew This Performance Was The Only Way To End Such A Terrible Year

This is probably my favorite theory of the moment, and the one which totally sounds like the Mimi I know and love (guys, she genuinely has a wicked sense of humor, OK?). Though it's perfectly plausible that Carey's performance was an unintentionally apt curtain closer for what has truly been a sweaty, face-palm of a year, it's also beautiful to consider that this may have been exactly what the superstar wanted to give to America: a unifying moment of awkward, comedic failure. And that's something I think we can all appreciate at this turbulent moment in time.

At the end of the day, it was the performance that 2016 deserved and maybe, just maybe, it was the one that Carey had planned all along. And whatever the truth happens to be regarding the performance, I know one absolute truth which hasn't changed — live show mishap or otherwise, Carey is still one of America's greatest living performers and I, for one, still absolutely adore her.