Mariah Carey plays up her diva-ness in reality series Mariah's World

Singer Mariah Carey stars in the reality series, Mariah's World. Mr Peng Chang-kuei in the 2014 documentary The Search For General Tso. The Taiwanese chef, who invented General Tso's chicken, died at the age of 97.
Singer Mariah Carey stars in the reality series, Mariah's World. PHOTO: E!

In her new reality series Mariah's World, the pop diva offers a a fly-on- the-wall peek at her personal and professional life

Mariah Carey wants you to know she is fabulous and she is not going to be subtle about it.

While other stars at a Los Angeles press day for television critics are content to do the usual staid question-and-answer sessions for their new shows, the 46-year-old elects to be carried into her promotional event on a human chair formed by six shirtless hunks with oiled torsos.

The surreal spectacle, which unfolds at a Beverly Hills hotel as she promotes her new reality series Mariah's World, also sees her order dozens of bottles of chilled Veuve Clicquot champagne for The Straits Times and other members of the press, whom she proceeds to address as "darlings".

"I want to share a splash with you guys. Can we do this? Cheers, darlings, cheers," says the 46-year-old, raising a glass towards the journalists, the most jaded of whom cannot help but smile at her disruption of their otherwise mundane schedule of back-to-back press conferences.

Debuting in Singapore tomorrow on E! (Singtel TV Channel 328, StarHub TV Channel 441), Mariah's World purports to offer a fly-on- the-wall peek at the personal and professional life of the pop diva as it follows her on her recently con- cluded Sweet Sweet Fantasy tour.

I don't know that anybody really knows the real me. Hopefully, they'll see other sides of me that they find entertaining or does something good instead of something bad.

MARIAH CAREY

She is hoping it reveals a different side to her.

"I don't know that anybody really knows the real me," says Carey, who with 200 million in record sales, is one of the most successful musical performers of all time.

"Hopefully, they'll see other sides of me that they find entertaining or does something good instead of something bad. I can be bossy, but I try to be a nice person."

It is hard to know what is real, though, when both she and the show clearly exaggerate that diva persona and milk it for all it is worth.

In person, the five-time Grammy winner, who has had 18 chart- topping singles in the United States since 1990's Vision Of Love, displays more than a willingness to laugh at herself even as she hams it up, each outrageous statement punctuated with a knowing look as she sprawls on a gilded velvet chaise taking questions.

"So, this is perfectly normal," she says with a sly grin after her flamboyant entrance.

Not too long afterwards, there is another theatrical flourish - she summons her hair and make-up crew on stage to give her a wholly unnecessary touch-up mid-press conference. "I hope you don't mind - this is part of my world," she purrs before playfully inquiring if any of the journalists wants a touch-up, too.

In her sparkly black leotard and fishnet stockings, she stays on brand when asked if there any other female artists she admires.

"There are a few", and they are "lovely ladies", she concedes, then declines to name them when pressed, saying "it's not their day".

One of those she does not name is pop star Nicki Minaj, with whom she famously clashed when they were judges on a season of American Idol.

Asked about her experiences on that show, she says: "Oh, it was the most abusive experience."

She refuses to elaborate, but takes a dramatic swig from her champagne flute and mock-scolds the reporter who probed. "You've just driven me to drink," she says.

Carey has had long-running social media feuds with fellow artists such as Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande.

While she denies she is someone who "throws shade" - slang for publicly criticising or disrespecting someone - it is unclear whether this, too, is tongue-in-cheek.

"I don't throw shade," she says. "I don't know why people think this."

The songbird is slightly more forthcoming on the subject of her ex-husband Nick Cannon, 36, and her fiance, Australian billionaire James Packer, 49, whom she says was "very cool in allowing some moments" with him to be shown on camera.

She and Packer have since called off their nuptials, the planning stages of which popped up in an early trailer for the show, although it is believed he will now be edited out of the series.

Carey is now dating her 33-year- old backup dancer Bryan Tanaka.

She says Cannon, who hosts America's Got Talent and is the father of her five-year-old twin son and daughter Moroccan and Monroe, is supportive of Mariah's World. "I can't speak for him because he is his own guy and we are not together anymore. But he's cool about being on the show - he comes around and he's with the kids."

When someone asks if he will actually appear on the show, she betrays a hint of irritation.

"I didn't say that, darling - I said he came around," she drawls. "I don't know what makes the final cut."

Batting her eyelids, she adds: "I'm sorry, was that rude? I am so not trying to slay anybody."

She tones down the act when it comes to the question of her children and how much they will appear in the show.

"Here's the thing - they could have their own show because that's how funny they are," she says.

The twins have inherited their parents' flair for performing, it seems. "Miss Monroe has a really great ear for music and a really great tone", while Moroccan is becoming a "great little deejay".

Full exposure for them on TV is another thing, though.

"I just have to mutually figure out with Nick how much we want them on the show. They're in my life. We'll see. I think it should be sparing."

•Mariah's World debuts in Singapore tomorrow at 9pm on E! (Singtel TV Channel 328, StarHub TV Channel 441).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2016, with the headline 'See the real Mariah in her World'. Print Edition | Subscribe