Mariah Carey Is a Hands-on Boss

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Mariah Carey as herself. Photo: E!

It’s week three of Mariah’s World, the eight-part docuseries in which pop sensation Mariah Carey narrates the lives of her five-figure employees. Mariah’s World might as well be a spinoff of The Office, because watching it feels like I put a camcorder on the watercooler where I work and then played back the footage at the end of the day — except this camcorder has a diamond-encrusted butterfly on top of it.

Continuing the ever-evolving drama between lifetime backup singer MaryAnn and sourpuss dancer Anthony, Mariah tries her best to mediate the situation. In a room alone, MaryAnn and Mariah try to hash things out. MaryAnn is upset that Anthony went first to their higher-ups instead of dealing with his issues with her head on. As MaryAnn talks about how annoyed she is that Anthony was hungry to have their drama play out on-camera, Mariah’s eyes welcome a distant haze, and she tells her friend that she’s going to remove herself from the situation. Mariah would like to see how their anger plays out organically, and is hoping for the best. She also wants for everyone to settle their differences before the tour hits London, her favorite city.

While preparing to hit the stage in London, Stella’s voice crackles out the headlines of the day, which include an email from Mariah’s agents, who are concerned that Mariah wants to use endangered circus animals in her wedding. Of course a lover of butterflies and lambs would never have time or use for endangered animals, but she does have time for a joke. So she and Stella call her agents and pretend that she wants to use her wedding to give voice to the endangered-animal population. Almost instantly her agent recognizes that she’s joking. The call ends quickly with Mariah exiting the frame in a fit of giggles.

Once onstage, Mariah is being watched from the sidelines by Anthony. He’s concerned about a hump he’s noticing in the back of her hair. The culprit, Mariah’s new hairstylist, Larry. Larry was hired after Stella fired Mariah’s former hairdresser, Danielle, over budget cuts. Mariah wasn’t happy with this, but followed Stella’s lead. However, Larry can’t even get Mariah’s hair to lay flat on her head. Because he’s most comfortable in places that aren’t his, Anthony tells Larry to fix Mariah’s hair as soon as he can. Larry responds with “yeah, okay.”

Post-show, many of Mariah’s team members convene to talk about her birthday, or “anniversary.” In one group, Stella and Mariah’s makeup artist Kristoff talk, and in another Mariah’s dancers set something up. The dancers include post-filming, now-boyfriend Bryan Tanaka and professional complainer Anthony. Stella tells Kristoff that this anniversary is different because, unlike past years where Mariah has always celebrated being 12, she’s celebrating being 14 this year. The reason? Her twins. End of story, no deeper reasoning. Let’s just go with it. This is my favorite moment of Stella’s because she doesn’t even hide her confusion and just bursts out laughing.

Meanwhile, the dancers decide that they’d like to do something big. They also want to include pink, purple, balloons, and Hello Kitty. While her staff plans, Mariah decompresses after her show and walks the cameras out of her dressing room.

Much of this series revolves around Mariah’s growing relationship with her dancer, Bryan, and it starts with him telling the camera that he’d like to have some more personal time with Mariah. Despite Bryan asking Mariah if she remembered him in the first episode, Bryan says that Mariah has been one of the most supportive people in his career. He also makes a point to detail just how single he is and how much fun he’s having on his own — he’s ready, though, to settle down with one woman.

In her hotel, Mariah summons Leech of the Year Stella and asks if she likes her freshly blown-out hair. Stella loves it, and thinks it’s better than the hair Mariah had in her show. This is the problem, Mariah points out. It’s better because she had to do her hair herself because the new hairstylist, Larry, is slacking. Stella agrees, and after some forceful urges from Mariah she decides to rehire Danielle.

Mariah, Stella, and Anthony travel to work on Mariah’s private jet, and Anthony has some news he’d like to share with the cabin. Apparently, he’s gotten some texts from a previous employee of Mariah’s who has called her current operation a “sinking ship.” Stella calls her former employer a “hater,” and refuses to feed into anyone’s negative comments surrounding Mariah because she has her back “in perpetuity.” Yes, that is a chill you felt running through your spine and core. Mariah’s unbothered by this person because she knows if they go to the press then she can sue them. You see, to work for Mariah you need to sign a confidentiality agreement, and she really doesn’t think talking about her is worth all the money a former employee would lose in a lawsuit.

Once off the plane, Mariah personally learns that more employees have been talking poorly about Stella. This time, it’s all over the press. Stella is livid, but is happy that she was compared to a “Russian dictator” and not called a bitch. Mariah refuses to say on-camera who sent the texts, which could be the logline for this whole series. We’re never fully let in on the secret of Mariah’s life, but we get just enough details to piece something together. The following morning, Stella is in her apartment screaming at her lawyer to sue “Page Six,” who originally published content smearing her name. Even if the lawsuit doesn’t stick, she’s adamant about letting publications know they can’t come at her reputation sideways.

Stella’s assistant, Molly, is also in the midst of a crisis. She’s being sent to Harrods to get any and all truffles for Mariah’s anniversary celebration, and she doesn’t even know what a truffle is. Poor thing can only relate them to mushrooms and pigs.

Mariah’s next show is in Luxembourg, so she leisurely commutes by private jet from London. Between the screams of children on the jet, which is as filthy and lived-in as an overused minivan, the tour executive, Yoni, tells everyone that they’ll be at least an hour late for the show. Yoni didn’t factor in the time difference between London and Luxembourg, and Stella didn’t double check his math. Mariah is worried about being fined, and mumbles to Stella that maybe having a brand-new tour manager join them wasn’t the best idea.

Everyone arrives late to the venue to the sound of a booing crowd. On her way to her dressing room, Mariah takes a mic from backstage, and tells her crowd to sit for ten minutes while she throws on her “ensemble.” This appeases some, but it definitely doesn’t appease the fan yelling, “Shame on you!” Mariah, the woman who says plainly and openly that time is a “construct,” claims not to enjoy being late. She knows it’s a part of her brand, but in reality she loves respecting people’s time. She also loves employing minors — Stella’s 12-year-old daughter, Miska, is still doing social media for Mariah as she heads to the stage.

This 12-year-old was also put in charge of asking Bryan Tanaka to jump out of Mariah’s anniversary cake, shirtless. Of course Bryan agrees to more screen time: He’s hoping that this moment will give him some alone time with Mariah so they can really talk.

Mariah gathers herself and a glass of red wine to head back to London for the night. Once in her hotel, she takes a call from Brett Ratner, who wishes her a happy anniversary. This scene isn’t about the call very much, though, because Mariah’s not alone. She has some of her staff with her, so the scene turns into one that’s about Stella and Danielle, the hairstylist, cursing each other out. Stella thought she was being playful by flipping Danielle off, but Danielle found it rude and threatened Stella with a cease and desist and tells her not to make her look like an asshole on TV. Mariah’s call has finished, so she just looks at her two employees fighting, stunned into a beautiful silence.

Once Mariah has some alone time with Stella, she tries to whip her into shape as best she can. She’s not in the most authoritative position, though: She’s lying in bed on a tour bus, propped up by pillows, covered by a massive duvet, and holding a glass of red wine. Mariah ponders aloud that perhaps Stella’s management style isn’t working because everyone’s new to the team. She also asks Stella and the camera for the name of the person who nominated her to soothe everyone’s biter attitudes.

Next, Mariah has a one-on-one chat with Danielle. Their chat is very brief, because Stella joins in. In this meeting, Mariah wore her most modest business-casual — a thong bodysuit, fishnets, knee-high boots, and an off-the-shoulder leather jacket. The look worked because Danielle admitted that it’s insane for someone like Mariah Carey to mediate drama between her staff, so she and Stella quickly patch things up and hug it out. Mariah is finally at peace.

Join me in January for another recap of Mariah’s World. Both that Mariah and this Mariah are taking a break to celebrate the anniversary of Jesus. All I ask is that you please ask Santa to bring a story line that revolves around Mariah next year and not the degenerate company she keeps. If you do that, then I’ll take care of the rest. Happy holidays!

Mariah Carey Is a Hands-on Boss