Motolla weighed in on Carey’s appearance at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, suggesting that she should take some of the blame for the issues with the performance — but only for choosing the wrong support team.
The 67-year-old music executive believes that Carey is “arguably the greatest pop voice to come along in the last three decades,” and that she could have avoided the embarrassment that night if her technical people paid “more attention to all of it so that there was no chance of that happening.”
WATCH BELOW: The fallout of Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance
Describing the Hero singer as a “global icon and a treasure with incredible talent,” Mottola admits the situation “could’ve happened to anyone,” but says it should never have happened in the first place. He also thinks Carey shouldn’t participate in her currently running reality TV show Mariah’s World.
“My only advice is that she should hire more seasoned and respected professionals to surround her and help her with her career,” he wrote in a letter to the New York Post’s Page Six column.
Motolla believes that the docuseries “does absolutely nothing for her integrity, her credibility, or her massive talent!!”
Carey made global headlines with her headlining set, which went downhill as midnight approached. She began to sing hit songs Emotions and We Belong Together, but then everything seemed to go wrong. The superstar vocally stumbled through her short set, failing to sing for most of it despite a pre-recorded track of her songs playing in the background.
Carey was apparently unable to hear through her in-ear monitor, and she removed it completely. The pop star eventually abandoned singing and lip-syncing as she grew frustrated, addressing the crowd, “I’m trying to be a good sport here.”
Both camps deflected blame and presented explanations for what went wrong during the New Year’s Eve performance.
Carey’s representative Nicole Perna blamed technical difficulties, and in an interview with Billboard she said Dick Clark Productions hampered Carey’s performance.
“She was not winging this moment and took it very seriously,” Perna told Billboard. “A shame that production set her up to fail.”
Perna said Carey’s earpiece wasn’t working and she flagged the issue to the production team, but was told it would be OK when she got on stage.
“However, that was not the case, and they were again told that her earpiece was not working,” Perna said. “Instead of endeavouring to fix the issue so that Mariah could perform, they went live.”
Dick Clark Productions issued its own statement claiming, “To suggest that dcp (Dick Clark Productions), as producer of music shows including the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and Academy of Country Music Awards, would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd.”
Carey’s ex-husband believes “she should take a step back, think carefully and figure out what to do next.”
Mottola kept going in his letter, saying “most certainly none of these issues or problems ever existed with her in her early days at Sony for the first 10 years when she skyrocketed to global superstardom!”
Mottola was the Sony Music chariman who helped guide Carey from 19-year-old backup singer to the top of the music industry.
Carey’s current manager, Stella Bulochnikov, reportedly fired back, telling Page Six, “Really? Tommy is a relic. Did he give you that statement from a rotary phone?”
Carey began to date Mottola while recording her third studio album, Music Box, and married him on June 5, 1993. Their relationship began to deteriorate from growing creative differences on her albums. On May 30, 1997, the couple announced their separation, with their divorce finalized by the time he remarried on December 2, 2000.
Over the years, Carey has characterized Mottola as a controlling spouse, who would cloister her in a mansion she later called “Sing Sing” even as she became the world’s most popular performer, according to Billboard.