Is the Mariah Carey-Nicki Minaj back-and-forth a genuine feud or a ratings ploy? Neither, claim American Idol producers.

In a statement to Access Hollywood, producers said everything was going smoothly.

This is one of the best, most passionate, dynamic and invested judging panels we've ever had. We love and support all of the judges and the fantastic work they are doing, and we can't imagine a better group to find the next ‘American Idol.' Despite all the accusations and media speculation — much of which is inaccurate — production is going extremely well today and the judges are focused on finding the best talent here in Baton Rouge.

But it's hard to deny actual footage of the divas sparring, or what Mariah told Barbara Walters. Of course, this could be a clever way of deflecting attention from the network, which is very possibly pushing these rumors for ratings.

It's more than just internet conspiracy theorists who aren't buying the story. When TMZ asked Steven Tyler if he thought Nicki and Mariah were B.S.-ing, he answered, "Of course. Are you kidding?" Cee-Lo had a similar response, saying, "This is Hollywood, California. Hardly anything's legit."

So does the network's denial of the feud make its reality more likely, or is that just what they want us to think? And am I the only one having a hard time keeping up?

[Image via Curtis Sabir/]