Major Drama Alert: The Biggest Judges Feuds on Talent Shows

Samantha Agate
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Sometimes talent show contestants aren’t the only ones who bring major shade. Talent show judging panels are a huge source of drama on and off-camera. There have been so many times judges do not get along which leads to the biggest feuds ever. What made these judges tick? Check out the six biggest judges’ feuds.


1. Simon Cowell and Gary Barlow

Despite their connections to the talent show world, Gary Barlow and Simon Cowell were never really besties. Barlow replaced Cowell on The X Factor for two years starting in 2011. Cowell went off to start the U.S. version of the show with CherylThe X Factor ratings were not so hot at the time. Naturally, everyone’s first reaction was to blame Barlow for the plummeting ratings. He came out multiple times to say it wasn’t his fault

Cowell came back to the series and Barlow was ousted. Then, the real feud began off camera. It all started when Barlow announced he was going to be searching for talent on a show called Let It Shine. At that point, he hadn’t talked to Cowell for years. Cowell was reportedly “furious” because he felt like Barlow’s talent show had a similar format to The X Factor. He was so mad to the point that he wanted to take legal action.

Cowell’s a businessman first and foremost and does not want anyone stepping in the way of his empire. Barlow tried to explain that the prize for Let It Shine was to perform in a stage show, while the prize for The X Factor was a recording contract. He basically said all he could in the media to make it known that his show would not be a threat to any of Cowell’s shows.



Eventually, Cowell just dropped the lawsuit and the conflict. Barlow’s show did end up airing. It looks like he won the battle this time. What’s interesting is that it was recently announced that The X Factor would not be returning for another season. Barlow reflected about it on Instagram. He could not believe how long it has been since he sat on the judging panel. 

2. Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel

We’ve seen and heard Cowell getting into so many on-screen and off-screen feuds with other judges like Mel B, Nicole Scherzinger, and even Howie Mandel on Season 16 of America’s Got Talent. Cowell literally told Mandel that he was speaking “out of his a**” and also told him to “shut up.”

The two have butted heads over more than a few acts this season. Mandel was even labeled as The Grinch on this season. His skin was edited to be green. Cowell was once a mean judge himself but has slowly started becoming softer over the past few seasons.


Well, this feud is really only happening on camera. The two are actually very good friends behind the scenes. They even have telepathic powers. It’s kind of weird but also amazing. Cowell and Mandel have the kind of friendship where they can make fun of each other but not get their feelings hurt.

3. Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey

American Idol did not have room for two divas on the Season 12 judging panel. From the very beginning, there was drama brewing between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. They were filmed getting into a heated argument during an audition round. They were yelling curse words at each other while poor Keith Urban and Randy Jackson just had to be in the middle.

Some people were saying Carey provoked Minaj. Others were saying she didn’t. Several sources said Carey was speaking when Minaj cut her off and that’s where all of the drama began. Carey called Barbara Walters and told her that she hired extra security after their big blow-up. Walters later revealed what was said in the phone call on The View.

The American Idol producers put out a statement basically saying that the judges were just really passionate and that’s why they got into a scuff. When you put two big-name stars on the same television screen, there is bound to be some tea brewing between them. Their feud is years in the past. Carey and Minaj have both directed their shade at so many other celebrities in the present.

4. Sharon Osbourne and Dannii Minogue

According to Sharon Osbourne’s autobiography Unbreakable, she and Dannii Minogue hated each other when they worked together on The X Factor. She called working with Minogue “unbearable” and “intolerable.” Osbourne was fed up that Minogue had begun a relationship with Cowell. She and Louis Walsh “stood there like a couple of gooseberries” as they watched the two flirt all of the time

Osbourne claimed she arranged a meeting with Minogue and an executive producer to hash out their problems. She apologized to Minogue but got a blank reaction from her. The talks failed to change the feud between the judges. They weren’t really able to get on the same page and ended the meeting. 

Osbourne also spoke about a time where she walked past Minogue in the hallway and Minogue didn’t even make eye contact. She went to Cowell to tell him to choose between keeping herself or Minogue on the show. Cowell refused to choose between the two. 

Minogue later came forward with her own side of the story. In her version, Osbourne was creating drama out of nothing. She was screaming at Minogue in her dressing room one time so hard, producers had to come to remove Osbourne. This was allegedly 10 minutes before showtime. A friendship does not seem like it is in the cards for these two.

5. David Walliams and Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan was one of the original judges on Britains Got Talent with Cowell and Amanda Holden. He left the show in 2011 but has remained very close with Cowell over the years. Morgan still insists that he speaks to BGT producers often about returning to the show. Everyone wondered if he was going to come back to the show when Cowell suffered a broken back from his electric bike accident.

Morgan only has one condition about returning to the show. He does not ever want to work with David Walliams. He called Walliams “a duplicitous, treacherous, piece of work.” Morgan feels like Walliams is the kind of person who talks behind other people’s backs. Walliams liked a negative tweet about Morgan in 2019 which is most likely the root of their feud.

“I will come back to BGT if the money is right and if they guarantee Walliams gets fired,” Morgan said. “I might even make it a contractual clause that I get to be the one who tells him he is fired. If I was him I would stick to writing his children’s books.”

6. Debunking the Rumored Feud Between Demi Lovato, Khloe Kardashian, and Britney Spears

Fans were absolutely buzzing when Britney Spears joined the U.S. version of The X Factor in 2012. Reports began swirling that Spears had an ongoing feud with Demi Lovato and host Khloe Kardashian. A source said that Spears did not really talk much to Kardashian or Lovato and was very disinterested when Kardashian was on stage.

Kardashian was reportedly aware that Spears was not her biggest fan. The reality star formed a better relationship with Lovato because she related to them more. Many believed Spears’ diva behavior on set was to blame for the supposed rift between the judges.

But, we’re going to have to debunk this feud. Lovato came forward to say that they actually enjoyed being around Spears. 

“We’ve definitely bonded, I think because we’ve been through the same stuff,” Lovato later told The Sun. “But if we did have a heart-to-heart I probably wouldn’t tell a magazine about it! It’s pretty obvious that we’ve been through some of the same things for sure.”

In more recent news, Kardashian tweeted in support of the #freebritney movement in regards to Spears’ conservatorship. Lovato also voiced her opinions about the situation in support of Spears. It seems like if there was actually any drama on The X Factor set, it was obviously squashed long ago. 

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