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Mariah Carey Parts Ways With Creative Director Over NYE Debacle

Anthony Burrell will not return to work with the singer ”for a number of reasons“

Mariah Carey has parted ways with longtime creative director, dancer and tour choreographer Anthony Burrell following her disastrous New Year’s Eve performance, according to media reports.

Entertainment Tonight cites sources close to the singer, who say Anthony Burrell is “not being brought back [in 2017] for a number of reasons.”

Carey’s performance suffered from an audio equipment malfunction. Apparently, the singer could not hear herself — or possibly anything — in the on-stage monitors. The rest of the world could hear the music and backing track however — including all those pre-recorded high notes.

Carey’s performance during the ABC telecast drew widespread criticism for its ramshackle nature. As her backup dancers continued to perform, the vocalist mostly just walked around the stage, repeatedly asking a technician to turn her speakers on. At one point she told the crowd, “I’m trying to be a good sport here.”

ET’s source says Burrell’s culpability was in moving the singer’s backup dancers off the stage at the last minute without her permission – backup dancers can be useful in helping singers pick up cues during technical malfunctions.

Burrell tweeted support for Carey after the performance: “I haven’t been able to watch NYE performance. 30 sec from live TV, boss couldn’t hear her own vocal in her in-ears from Mic. #heartbroken… Sucks to see all of the hateful messages. Peep [sic] are so quick to judge, not knowing we were all in a state of panic.”

A representative for the singer told TheWrap on Monday that Carey’s ear piece wasn’t working right from the get-go. Carey’s camp also previously blamed Dick Clark Productions for purposely sabotaging the performance.

“Production said it’s because they didn’t work well in the tent and to go up to stage,” the rep said. “Once on stage, [Carey] told the stage manager that the ears were not working but production decided to just go live instead of cut to commercial to fix the problem.”

In a strongly worded statement, Dick Clark Productions told TheWrap that claims suggesting Carey’s performance was sabotaged are “defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd.”

“As the premier producer of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists. To suggest that [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,” the statement noted.