During the FOX section of the TCA press tour, the elephant in the room was also the big news story of the “American Idol” pre-season: The reported feud between judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Does it exist? Was anybody willing to admit to it?

The answer? Sort of…

Reporters in attendance wasted no time in bringing up the feud issue, and of course everyone on stage had to make nice about it. But there were several clues to indicate that all is not well between the two female judges of 2012.

The ladies stayed apart

It may have just been coincidental, but Carey and Minaj did not sit next to one another during the panel. Sure, you could say the same thing about Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson, but there seemed to be a little more to it than that. While most of the other panelists talked amongst themselves and looked back and forth, Mariah and Nicki seemed to be actively ignoring each other as much as possible.

No matter what the level of “feud,” it’s likely that these two are not buddies.

No one explicitly denied a big fight

When asked directly about the feud between the judges, the panel mostly replied with humor and a little bit of deflection. The producers, for example, pointed out that any group of passionate people are certain to disagree. There were also jokes about Keith Urban and Randy Jackson fighting it out.

But no one denied a fight between Minaj and Carey. Mariah Carey, instead of saying the fight didn’t exist, simply minimized its importance. “The fighting is what it is,” she said. “This is ‘American Idol.’ It’s bigger than all that.”

The fighting is probably still going on, at least a little

In addition to the apparent ignoring of each other, possible issues between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were evident in their responses about how they moved past the intensive media coverage of their feud.

Minaj says she dealt with the fallout with a new scandal: “I put out my sex tape,” she said. Carey’s unimpressed response to this? “And there it is.”

Such comments don’t point to a full-blown war, but don’t expect any hugging between the ladies this season.

Posted by:Laurel Brown