LOS ANGELES | The Mariah Carey who looked wholly uncomfortable as a judge on “American Idol” several years ago was nowhere to be seen Wednesday when the Grammy-winning singer met the media to promote her upcoming reality series, “Mariah’s World.”
Entering the stage with a team of shirtless men, Carey moved to a purple chaise, sat down and asked reporters to “tell me if there’s any issues going on over here,” as she pointed to her fishnet-clad legs.
Playing up her reputation as a diva, she asked for a “splash” of champagne, pretended to take a sip and proceeded to answer questions with a wink and more than a little sass.
If this wasn’t the best image makeover in decades, Madonna wasn’t paying attention.
The svelte Carey knew just how to work the room and wasn’t afraid to provide the headlines.
“American Idol,” she said, was “the most abusive experience. By, the way, you’ve just driven me to drink,” offered, then raised her flute and took another splash.
The “real” Mariah, she said, is a bit of a “jokestress.” “Sometimes, that gets the best of me. I can be a bit bossy, but I try to be a nice person.”
Too often, she continued, fans don’t know what she’s really like because they only see snippets of her on TV, in a video or in an interview. “If you know somebody for 10 years and they are your friend, you kind of know the real them.”
During the course of the news conference, she mockingly called for a makeup touch-up, pretended to pose for photos and adjusted her hair. The performance was one of her best yet – one that more fans should have been privy to.
The series, meanwhile, will show her when the spotlight isn’t on – as she preps for a world tour, plans for her wedding to Australian business mogul James Packer and day-to-day when she raises her twins, Moroccan and Monroe, with ex Nick Cannon.
The children, she said, most likely will be in the eight-part series (which airs in December). “They could have their own show because that’s how funny they are,” she said. “I just have to mutually figure it out with Nick how much we really want them in the show because the truth is they jump on the stage when they can. They are an integral part of my life.”
Carey said her offspring are so well-versed in the ways of celebrity, “if I were, like, an agent and I’d discovered them, I’d be like, “These kids need to be on TV.’”
Like most people, Carey said, she has many different sides. The series should reveal “a lot of sides of me that they may not have known were there.”
Already, she said, she’s a bit of a “closet editor,” and a natural director.
She wouldn’t talk about the collaborators she’s working with or the concept of her next record. “Right now, I’m just writing and recording, collaborating and then, you know, we’ll see what the best of the best is.”
There are a lot of young singers she admires, but Carey wouldn’t elaborate. “They would be lovely ladies ... and it’s not their day.”
Totally controlling the room, the singer was confident, bold and unafraid to polish the myth.
In truth, she said, “I’m like the same person that I was when I was a kid. I didn’t have money. I had a very difficult childhood. I moved around a lot. That’s always a part of me and I think that goes into making music or doing any kind of creative activity.”
“Mariah’s World” premieres Dec. 4 on the E! Channel.