01/18/2013 03:58 am ET Updated Jan 18, 2013

'American Idol': Nicki Minaj And Mariah Carey Bring Bickering To Chicago (VIDEO)

"American Idol" rode a wave of bickering into Chicago. While the episode didn't spotlight the arguing and tension between new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, it was still clearly there. Several confused contestants had to stand there and watch as the two ladies gave little jabs back and forth during their critiques.

At one point Randy Jackson shouted to a contestant who'd made it through to the next round, "Run from these crazy people to Hollywood!"

While the women argued as much as promised in earlier promos, they were also civil at times. Because of that, it's difficult to read how they really felt about one another, but it makes it easier to believe that the feud was not something staged for the show.

The eyerolls from Carey alone while Minaj talked to contestants and took over the panel at times certainly seemed genuine. Next week, it gets even worse as we get to the infamous footage that leaked over the summer where Minaj walks off the panel in a huff.

But is all this drama helping the show in the ratings? Not so far. The show returned down in the ratings from last year to its lowest in-season premiere yet. Entertainment Weekly reports that executives are happy with the numbers, though. While "NCIS" beat it in total viewers, it still had the highest-rated debut of any singing competition this season so far and is among the top performers still.

"American Idol" continues on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.

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