Oh it’s a hard life being a megastar.
Which outfit to wear? Which dancers to cut? Should you be carried in on a chaise lounge? How do you sleep without your Apple TV? What’s the bigger priority: your tour or your wedding?
Welcome to the dilemmas of Mariah’s World, a videography in search of conflict with its drowsy star at the centre.
As an adult contemporary pop star, Mariah Carey has a gifted voice, and I’m impressed she has written some of her biggest hits. But as television talent her new E! series offers little insight, knee-deep in the trappings of fame without particularly challenging them.
‘I have never wanted to have this documentary in my life,” she shares. Say what? Documentary?
The arc for the series was supposed to be about Carey organising her wedding to billionaire James Packer, but given recent news of their split (which will clearly be the series’ biggest turning point), her tour of 25 countries takes centrestage.
For the record, Packer is visible in the first 10 minutes of the opening episode, seen happy and intimate with Carey, but only as part of a montage sans dialogue. His name is barely mentioned again in the first episode although Carey seems torn about whether to postpone her wedding in order to focus on her tour.
There’s plenty of rehearsal and pre-production footage, including creative directors, choreographers, make-up artists, dancers and more. Carey insists she is hands-on but much of the footage shows her making an entrance to approve or disapprove of creative choices. There is a late-night dance rehearsal (4:25am anyone?) and her insistence on wearing sunglasses in rooms with fluroescent lighting.
Some of her dialogue is imparted whilst laying resplendent on a couch, and there is more bling throughout the episode than a window at Cash Converters.
Supporting cast in the series include her manager Stella, equally dripping in bling, and the newly-recruited personal assistant Molly who is told no dating and no tears on the job, thanks.
A handful of valid opportunities are left unexplored: How does a superstar know whom to trust, and who will end up betraying you? How does one feel about always bearing the public brunt of mistakes within production?
“It’s always my fault… no-one else gets blamed,” she reveals.
As a “Documentary” our central character is never challenged on her choices, and appears too controlling of what is and isn’t allowed to be filmed by the E! cameras.
There is also a reference to a Pre-Nup that deserves more camera time.
Throughout it all I struggled to see how the business-savvy James Packer could have possibly felt at home amongst semi-naked male dancers, loud botoxed women, camp and tempestuous creative staff, tantrums, selfies, parties and social media. Can’t help but think he has dodged a bullet….
At an hour this is 30 minutes too long and an indulgence purely for Carey devotees. Or lawyers for James Packer.
Mariah’s World premieres 1pm Monday December 5 on E!