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Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj have the fun kind of ‘American Idol’ feud

This image released by Fox shows new judges for singing competitiseries 'American Idol' from left Mariah Carey Keith Urban Nicki

This image released by Fox shows the new judges for the singing competition series, "American Idol," from left, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj and during a news conference in New York on Monday Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/FOX, Michael Becker)

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Updated: October 21, 2012 2:40PM

While Mariah Carey initially was not happy about the Nicki Minaj hiring as her fellow “American Idol” judge — and the two have clashed a bit in the initial tapings — they actually don’t hate each other, as has been widely reported.

“It’s really about two major stars who really don’t know each other,” said a source close to the action. On top of that, I’ve also learned that both Carey and Minaj are not only being paid big bucks — they understand that a bit of “fire,” as another “Idol” insider put it, could be good for ratings.

“The public likes to see some controversy and I think you will have plenty of that as the season unfolds next year,” my original source said.

After a recent taping, Carey and Minaj were seen backstage laughing and having a bit of fun with each other — making it sound like any “feud” is really more a show than anything else.

MAJOR STAR POWER: Three of our most talented women in the world of cinema will be in town to be honored during the Chicago International Film Festival this fall to receive the festival’s Silver Hugo Award for their career achievements. Joan Allen will be feted on Oct. 14, followed by Helen Hunt on Oct. 20 and Viola Davis on Oct. 22 — all receiving their awards during three respective special tributes at the AMC River East multiplex.

THIS IS COMPLICATED! Lindsay Lohan’s return to the headlines — after leaving the scene of an accident where she slightly bumped a guy while trying to park a car in New York — has taken a bizarre turn.

Apparently, the Porsche Cayenne she was driving was loaned to her by an artist pal named Domingo Zapata, who TMZ reports is also a patient of “Real Housewives of Miami” star Dr. Karent Sierra. The dentist sold Zapata the car two months ago.

But get this: The paperwork on the sale has not been finalized and, under New York law, Sierra might still be liable if there are any lawsuits stemming from LiLo’s accident.

In response, Sierra’s representative issued a statement saying she was “completely unaware of anyone (other than the new owner) driving the vehicle,” and blamed the delay in finalizing the paperwork on her busy schedule. “But Dr Sierra is not responsible for the unfortunate occurrence that took place with Ms. Lohan and the pedestrian.”

MORE TV HERE: Sounds like yet another television project is heading our way. Ruth Ratny’s reports that Denis Leary is co-writing and developing a half-hour comedy series. “Sirens” is set in Chicago and possibly may begin lensing here late next month. Leary says the premise, about a trio of paramedics, is inspired by a short-lived British comedy. It is unclear whether Leary himself will be on camera, but he does say he plans to cast the program with unknowns.

If “greenlit” — which is expected — the six-episode series will air on USA Network.

LIBRARY LORE: We already know authors Don DeLillo (Underworld, Cosmopolis), Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs) and Nami Mun (Miles From Nowhere) are the big honorees at the annual Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Oct. 17 — but here’s an additional scoop: Chicago native Scott Simon, host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” and himself the author of five books, will host a post-dinner discussion with DeLillo and Isaacson about their work and careers.

The event — benefitting the Chicago Public Library and the library’s foundation — will also host 65 other noted authors with Chicago ties, including Blue Balliett, Stuart Dybek, Ward Just, Bruce Norris, former Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, Scott Turow and Sara Paretsky. The always popular fundraiser at the UIC Forum will be co-chaired by Trisha Rooney Alden and Michael Sacks and produced by Donna LaPietra.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: It seemed like half the Cubs team — including Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Alfonso Soriano — swarmed into Board Room on Tuesday, as did pro boxer Fres Oquendo. … Good to have Billy Zane back in town, where he was most recently confabbing with Billy Dec at his Sunda eatery Tuesday.

PETA’S TAKE: After reading our item Wednesday about alleged threats against Lady Gaga, Wendy Wegner, the media officer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, emailed that her organization was unaware of any such threats and stressed that “we encourage our members to stick exclusively to nonviolent protests.”

My sources indicated that the threats to Gaga were not made by PETA members or supporters.

Wegner also wanted to point out PETA’s current big celebrity campaign is with Casey Affleck, who is helping highlight the cruel “de-horning” of cattle on dairy farms — apparently a process that is more common than many people know.

THE RIGHT TIME: No question about it, the title of the next film in Tivoli Theatre’s midnight movie series is aptly named. Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning “Midnight in Paris” — starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard and Kathy Bates — will be shown late Sept. 28 at the stroke of 12 at the Downers Grove venue.

TAKE A BOW: Kudos to Julia Stasch of the MacArthur Foundation who will be honored with the Community Sustainability Award from Holsten Human Capital Development Oct. 4. As the city’s first commissioner of the Housing Department, Stasch led the process resulting in Chicago’s commitment to a $1.3 billion, 5-year plan for affordable housing.

FASHION FLASH: Veteran designer Betsey Johnson, who has faced a ton of financial problems — including bankruptcy — seems to be on an uptick. A Style network show. “Betsey and Lulu,” will showcase Johnson, her daughter and her two grandaughers as Betsey rebuilds her business and Lulu launches her own.

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