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Maryland audio producer denies responsibility for Mariah Carey debacle

The production company is fighting back at the assertion from Carey's camp that they set her up to fail. 9CBS)

The Baltimore-based firm in charge of the audio at Mariah Carey's New Year's Eve performance in Times Square is among the parties denying responsibility for the entertainment fiasco.

Carey's disaster during the annual New Year's Eve special in Times Square made international headlines: The superstar vocally stumbled through her short set, failing to sing for most of it despite a pre-recorded track of her songs playing in the background.

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Carey was visibly upset during the performance and afterward tweeted "(expletive) happens." Her representative Nicole Perna blamed technical difficulties.

Perna said Carey's earpiece wasn't working and she flagged the issue to the production team but was told it would be OK when she got on stage.

"However, that was not the case, and they were again told that her earpiece was not working," Perna said. "Instead of endeavoring to fix the issue so that Mariah could perform, they went live."

The Baltimore-based Maryland Sound International declined to comment when contacted by The Baltimore Sun.

But Robert Goldstein, a veteran audio producer for the company, wrote in an email to the New York Times that the sound equipment that he oversaw wasn't malfunctioning.

"Every monitor and in-ear device worked perfectly," Goldstein told the Times. " I ...don't know what her nontechnical issue may have been."

Meanwhile, Dick Clark Productions issued a statement to the Associated Press saying that in "very rare instances" there are technical errors that can occur with live television. It said an initial investigation, however, indicated it wasn't responsible for Carey's, err, unusual performance.

"We want to be clear that we have the utmost respect for Ms. Carey as an artist and acknowledge her tremendous accomplishments in the industry," the production company statement said.

A person familiar with the production of the show who asked for anonymity to speak publicly about the incident said all of the other performers, including Gloria Estefan, rehearsed onsite for their performances and Carey was there but had a stand-in for her rehearsal, atypical for the show's performers. The person said all of the monitors were working and no technical problems were found.

Perna later disputed the claim that Carey did not rehearse.

"Mariah did in fact rehearse at 3:00 p.m., Perna said in an email to The Associated Press on Monday. "She went through vocals and her team ran through sound. All was well at rehearsal. She was prompt for rehearsal and her performance."

Ironically, Carey was Dick Clark Productions' first live performer for the broadcast in 2005, when it went off without any such problems.

Includes reporting by the Associated Press and Scott Dance and Mary Carole McCauley of The Baltimore Sun. 

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