In January, Mariah Carey parted ways with her choreographer, Anthony Burrell.
The decision came after a chaotic New Year’s Eve performance in which Carey, unable to hear her voice due to inadequate monitoring, stopped singing along with a pre-recorded track.
While Burrell wasn’t responsible for the monitoring situation, he did decide to place Carey’s backup singers offstage.
One source reportedly told Entertainment Tonight that the decision played a role in Burrell’s termination.
Since January, however, Carey’s performances have seemed a little…well, lazy.
In an interview with Complex, Burrell revealed his side of the story and attempted to explain the singer’s lackluster performances on her most recent tour.
“It’s just typical Mariah,” Burrell told the magazine.
“Mariah is clear: when she doesn’t wanna do something, she doesn’t do it. She’s performing with lackluster and no f***s given, and it’s taking away her star.”
He said that during his tenure, he had trouble getting Carey to commit to his choreography routines, noting that her considerable vocal talent sometimes worked against her.
“Working with an artist like Mariah, who’s not a mover first, it’s always a challenge to get them to think physically and not just vocally,” he said. “You always have to keep in mind that they’re a singer first. The priority is not teaching them 100 counts of 8, or endless routines. I wanted to give Mariah a modern push to revamp her, give her a fresher, more modern feel, make her more aware of her body and her lines, and not look like her feet hurt when she’s walking.”
In other words, Burrell tried to build routines around Mariah.
However, he says that the singer eventually grew tired of his approach. Now, Burrell says that her current team isn’t guiding her in the right direction.
“You’re a legend,” Burrell said, referring to how Mariah Carey sees herself. “But you don’t care, your team doesn’t care. They’re not guiding and directing her. She’s back to where she was before. It’s not like she’s never looked this bad before; I just stepped her game up.”
Burrell says that newer videos of Mariah remind him of when he first started working with the singer.
“It felt like they were so new at their jobs, and had no direction,” he said. “When you’re green, you’re playing things by trial and error, and there were a lot of errors. I was very vocal about things that weren’t right.
“When you try to take a shortcut and you don’t know the clues, you’re bound to get f***** up or screwed, because you don’t have the experience of running a tour or a billion-dollar empire. Some of the dancers her team hired are great dancers, but they’re not choreographers or creative directors.”
Granted, we could take all of this as the jealous words of a spurned ex-employee, but Burrell was careful to call her a “great person to work with.” In any case, it’s a pretty compelling interview, and if Mariah is getting lazy with her performances, we hope that it’s a temporary thing.