At this point, I think we can all admit that we only watch music award shows for the outfits, the opportunity to make fun of Taylor Swift’s dancing, and the chance to make GIFs that forever immortalize celebrity side-eye and thinly disguised beef.
Last night, at the Billboard Awards, the cameras were primed and ready to capture the tension between Mariah Carey, who performed a medley of her greatest hits, and JLo, who idly texted throughout the whole performance before some half-hearted applause.
[Update 3/8/16: The beef continues! Scroll down for our latest update.]
The supposed feud between these two has a long back story, and for those unfamiliar with its origins, we’ve taken the liberty of taking you down smack-talking memory lane.
It all started in 2001, when JLo released “I’m Real,” the song that would later be remixed with Ja Rule and convince us all that pink Juicy Couture sweatsuits were the move. “I’m Real” utilized a sample from an old song by a Japanese band called Yellow Magic Orchestra, and it just so happened that this same beat formed the basis for Mariah’s as-yet-unreleased song “Loverboy,” off the soundtrack for Glitter.
Two artists coincidentally using the same sample isn’t unheard of – in fact, it’s pretty common. But Mariah believed this was no coincidence, and rather a deliberate move on the part of her ex-husband and Sony President Tommy Mottola. After all, Sony, Mariah’s former label and JLo’s current label at that time, owns Columbia Pictures, the movie studio that co-produced Glitter. Mariah believed someone at Columbia leaked her track to Sony, where it was then given it to JLo to use.
This incident exacerbated Mariah’s belief that Mottola was grooming JLo to be a Carey Clone, both in sound and look, and kicked off a string of catty comments about Jenny from the Block.
During an interview for an Allure cover story, for example, writer Vanessa Grigoriadis told Carey she had interviewed JLo recently, to which Carey allegedly replied “I bet it was really intellectually stimulating. I bet you could just see the depths in her eyes, she was so soulful.”
Over the years, Carey honed her nearly unparalleled shade expertise in a series of interviews where she addressed – but also swiftly dismissed – the JLo thing:
Consider this interview, where Mariah claims the two simply can’t be compared because Mariah’s whole thing is “singing, writing songs” – implying that Lopez can do neither.
As far as JLo, she pretty much always tried to take the high road, maintaining that there is no beef on her end and that she admires Mariah as a performer:
But as we can see from the Billboard Awards, JLo’s probably just a lot more stealth when it comes to disguising her disdain. Either that, or she was just less than impressed by Carey’s latest vocal performances which have been getting critically panned as of late.
At least we have Ariana Grande.
UPDATE 3/8/16: It’s been more than 10 years since Mariah pretended to have no idea who JLo is, and the awkward bad blood between the two has yet to subside. On March 1st, JLo stopped by Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and attempted to set the record straight about the Billboard texting incident. “First of all. That was not fair, with the texting thing. Because I watched a lot… it was a long performance. Ok?,” she said, before later admitting, “I watched most of it. I may have looked down for one second.”
When Andy Cohen asked why JLo prepared for her Vegas residency by visiting everyone’s Vegas show but Mariah’s, she insisted there simply wasn’t time. “I don’t think there’s been a time when I could have seen it. Would I want to? Yeah, I’d want to see it,” she said.
A few days later, JLo visited Wendy Williams and was asked about Mariah’s now-legendarily shady “I don’t know her” comment. “[Mariah] is forgetful I guess! We’ve met many times,” JLo replied.
But on Monday night, TMZ caught Mariah leaving The Beverly Hilton hotel, and asked her about the infamous comment. “I STILL don’t know her,” Mimi replied. 🐸☕️