Mariah Carey’s ex choreographer: ‘when she doesn’t wanna do something, she doesn’t’


Mariah Carey is a singer extraordinaire, a diva and a legend in not only her own mind but several of ours as well. Please note that nowhere in that description did I say Mariah was a dancer. She does elaborate shows with plenty of dancers but her involvement is – let’s say minimal. However, even though Mariah was never a Rockette, she used to at least put energy into the few moves she had. These days, we’re lucky if Mariah doesn’t take a seat in the middle of her performance and just sing from a throne. To illustrate the point, someone has done a side-by-side comparison of Mariah performances and it speaks for itself:

My favorite part is when she’s temporarily hovered over the sailors. The guys holding her are really trying to convince us we’re seeing mastery. Mariah’s not just a bit slowed down, she’s barely ambulatory. But why? Does she have physical ailments? Is she slowing down in her late 40s? Or is it something darker? According to her former choreographer, Anthony Burrell, it’s none of the above. What Mariah has actually lost were all her ‘f—ks’ for anything other than singing. Anthony ended his four-year partnership with Mariah last January to work on many other projects – among them his Breaking Barriers Dance Intensive and Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment. But Complex got him to carve out a few minutes to discuss how Mariah lost her groove.

“It’s just typical Mariah,” Burrell said. “Mariah is clear: when she doesn’t wanna do something, she doesn’t do it. She’s performing with lackluster and no fucks given, and it’s taking away her star.”​

As her choreographer, Burrell said he was focused on making sure Mariah was comfortable onstage as not just a singer, but an all-around performer.

“Working with an artist like Mariah, who’s not a mover first, it’s always a challenge to get them to think physically and not just vocally,” he said. “You always have to keep in mind that they’re a singer first. The priority is not teaching them 100 counts of 8, or endless routines. I wanted to give Mariah a modern push to revamp her, give her a fresher, more modern feel, make her more aware of her body and her lines, and not look like her feet hurt when she’s walking.”

Burrell had been working alongside Mariah for four years before they parted ways in January. Throughout that time, he says, Mariah had come to trust and depend on him heavily for show design and physical awareness while performing. Now, Burrell says, there’s no one guiding her, and it’s showing.

“You’re a legend,” Burrell said. “But you don’t care, your team doesn’t care. They’re not guiding and directing her. She’s back to where she was before. It’s not like she’s never looked this bad before; I just stepped her game up.”

Burrell said that during his time in Mariah’s camp, he got the sense that her team was flat-out inexperienced. “It felt like they were so new at their jobs, and had no direction,” he said. “When you’re green, you’re playing things by trial and error, and there were a lot of errors. I was very vocal about things that weren’t right. When you try to take a shortcut and you don’t know the clues, you’re bound to get fucked up or screwed, because you don’t have the experience of running a tour or a billion-dollar empire. Some of the dancers her team hired are great dancers, but they’re not choreographers or creative directors.”

[From Complex]

I know what Anthony means when he says that great dancers are not necessarily good choreographers. A good choreographer is worth their weight in gold. They make sure they know the strengths and weakness of their dancers so they can be shown in their best light. Even if their weakness is they have no f–ks to give, a choreographer can mask that where a dancer is forced to dance around it. Yes, Anthony is throwing some serious shade, but I believe he would say all of this exactly as he said it if Mariah was sitting beside him. I think watching her star dim probably hits him in the chest. He posted both these Instagrams after he left Mariah’s team:

Happy Anniversary M! @mariahcarey #lambily

A post shared by anthonyburrell (@anthonyburrell) on

Mariah’s conspiracy theories about her New Year’s Eve disaster aside, most performers would have vamped or found a way to save that performance. Mariah just gave up and walked off the stage. I do think when Anthony left, Mariah thought she had it covered and when she didn’t, she decided not caring about it was the easier option. Her sole focus on that stage is to sing and show off her voice. If someone wants to casual float her over a sailor-wall during a musical interlude, that’s fine. For me, this is funny because I find the antics of divas and ice queens wildly entertaining. But I imagine for someone like Anthony, this is hard for him to watch.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images


Photo credit: Instagram, Getty images and WENN Photos

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37 Responses to “Mariah Carey’s ex choreographer: ‘when she doesn’t wanna do something, she doesn’t’”

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  1. Millennial says:

    Meh. I don’t think people are going to Mariah shows to watch her dance. I imagine most folks just want to hear the hits and see Mariah pretending to sing them.

    As for her not doing what she doesn’t want to do…. more power to her. She’s earned it IMO.

    • PauKay says:

      Sorry @Millennial, but I can’t get behind someone who is lazy and self-entitled. If she has no desire to perform, then she should retire (she’s more than earned that). If she does not want to do choreography, then she should stand behind a microphone and give it her all vocally.
      However, her sheer laziness (and delusions of self-grandeur that she is TOO GREAT too even give a shit and we should be happy to be gifted with her presence) is insulting to her fans.

      • NeoCleo says:

        I agree with you PauKay. That performance on the right (even without the contrasting performance on the left) was just painful. If she’s not going to fully participate in the choreography then she should just sing and let the dancers do their thing around her or go without.

      • Milla says:

        Lazy ? woman worked her ass off. She earned to be more than any other female pop star. She’s WhItney level. And we know how she ended so i think ppl need to give Mariah some space.

      • rlh says:

        Thank you Milla! Legend status. Let the diva be a diva. What don’t people get???

    • Bethy says:

      Barbra Streisand has earned her diva reputation too and she’s got the pipes to back it up. However, I doubt Ms. S has ever given a “lackluster” performance in her life. If Mariah doesn’t want to dance, don’t, Barbra doesn’t. It can be done and still put on a good show.

      • JustJen says:

        ^^^This. Bethy you said it best. There are singers who don’t dance and they put on a great show. Half-a**ing it just looks ridiculous. I knew she was slacking but seeing the side by side was a jolt. She used to be in way better shape, and yet back then she wore skirts and not just a leotard. That is just not complimentary on her at all. She must have one of those funhouse mirrors in her dressing room. IMHO, she always looks like her eyes are glazed over and she’s just numb.

    • Holly hobby says:

      Sorry if people are paying $$$$ you should keep up your end and actually try. This isn’t a free show. She plain gave up. My friend actually went to he Lionel Ritchie/Mariah joint tour and she taped a clip of it. Lionel had a lot of energy and he just sang. He didn’t dance. That clip was him playing a piano. The earnestness and energy was great. Then I see the Mariah clip and it’s just like the one on the right. Really?

      If people just wanted to listen and look at her they’d play a cd while staring at a,poster of her. That works too and it’s free.

  2. MeAnnandEddiesEpicLoveStoryIsAHoax says:

    Hashtag we already knew that 😂

  3. Enough Already says:

    She’ll swear she’s never met him ha ha.

  4. Jamieee says:

    It’s not like she was ever a good dancer. That 90’s choreography is painful. Not as bad as what she’s doing now, but much worse than just standing at a mic and singing.

    The dancing is the least of her problems anyway. If she still had her voice no one would care how low energy she is, but she didn’t take good care of her instrument.

  5. Rapunzel says:

    I think MC is just too worried about her looks as she ages. She’s too focused on being perfectly posed in her too tight clothes and too high heels. Plus she may be worried about falling in said heels. JMO

  6. Enough Already says:

    Also I want to be Anthony’s bff. And I want him to have Karl Lagerfeld and Tim Gunn over for green tea.

    • Runcmc says:

      Do you remember him on Dance Moms?? He’s definitely catty AF and he can sit by me 😂😂

  7. Lolo86lf says:

    I am sorry but Mariah Carey does not have a dancer’s body. Someone should tell her that she needs to slim down a bit in order to look her best. I totally believe she does not listen to good advice given to her because she is a diva. To be able to dance and sing and look good doing it you must be in shape and let’s face it she is not at her ideal weight.

    • Tanguerita says:

      she doesn’t need to slim down. Finding clothes that fit her properly and don’t make her look like an overstuffed sausage would suffice. But in her mind she is a perfect skinny butterfly, the elusive chanteuse per excellence.

      • Lolo86lf says:

        Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey are pretty much the same age and Jennifer looks positively amazing in those revealing outfits she wears because she is fit. Mariah loves to wear skin tight costumes and she looks overweight, like an “overstuffed sausage”. She has a nice natural figure but she has to lose some weight to look like she thinks she does in her mind.

      • Bridget says:

        Jennifer Lopez is a dancer, and her fame is in her body. A huge part of her high profile comes from showing up and looking amazing and getting press – she may be just okay at several different things, but gets out there and hustles. It’s like being a “10” because you added 3+3+4. Mariah on the their hand, is a singer and has always been one (though now it’s questionable how she took care of her voice).

    • Enough Already says:

      I’ve tried but I just can’t with these comments. Body policing as concern trolling smh.

      • Lolo86lf says:

        Believe me I am not bashing Mariah Carey or shaming her body. She has beautiful face and naturally voluptuous shape but let’s be honest; she is over her ideal weight. Being in the spotlight is going to make people look at you. She loves those skin-tight sparkly onesies that draw attention to her body. Are we supposed to feed her fantasy that she looks just perfect?

  8. Louise177 says:

    I think it’s fine if Mariah wants to just stand and sing. The problem is that the minimal movement she does looks so bad. It’s as if she doesn’t want to be there.

  9. Jayna says:

    Mariah never danced or moved much for most of her early career. I don’t expect much from her. And those leotard costumes she is wearing look horrible on her. Two sizes too small. Move into some great onstage costumes other than the dated popstar leotard costumes.

  10. snowflake says:

    She is very lazy. Remember she rode through a hotel lobby? She is lucky she is not bigger. I don’t think she does a second of physical activity

  11. Lucy2 says:

    It’s a shame she didn’t take better care of her voice, she could’ve transition into a more adult career, focusing on her singing. She should not be out there in body suits and over the top shows, trying to compete with the Katy Perry’s of the world still.

    • Jayna says:

      She sounded really beautiful on Me, I am Mariah …The Elusive Chanteuse, her last album. Live is a different story, it seems, from what I hear.

  12. Maple Girl says:

    But why does she have to dance? Someone with a voice like hers doesn’t need all the extra fluff.

  13. Mgsota says:

    She can’t walk in her heels let alone dance. She always looks like she’s in pain and unsteady. Give it up girl!
    I went to a Mom Prom (fundraiser for diabetes) and I had to chuckle to myself at all the ladies in sky high heels grimacing with every step…I was perfectly comfortable in my Stan Smith’s and danced the night away!

  14. Rice says:

    Honestly, I’d go to a Mariah concert just to hear her sing, or something like it, just like I’d go to an Adele concert. Both are amazing singers. With the exception of Beyonce, and a few others, backup dancers distract from the fact that some performers are basic at best.

  15. Neelyo says:

    It’s not about her being a trained dancer it’s about the energy and commitment. Kylie Minogue is not a dancer but you’d never know it from her shows because the choreographer makes her look good while allowing her to sing. You can tell that Mariah’s choreographers tried to do the same but she won’t even give the tiniest bit of effort.

    Plus Mariah Carey can’t really sing anymore so she better do something for the ticket price.

  16. Nicole says:

    Exactly like others have said she was never a dancer. But she was entertaining and had energy. Now she can barely “sing” in her concerts. Half the time she’s lip syncing and the other half she phones it in. If she stood in one spot and blew the roof off with her vocals no one would care. See Adele

  17. Deee says:

    She hasn’t been a great singer since the early 90s. So overrated and seems like an unpleasant person to deal with. Diva my ass!

  18. hey-ya says:

    …Robin Antin (& her team ?) is a great choreographer..the moves PCD did were so entertaining…I couldnt believe how rubbish some of the individual members of PCD were when they tried to choreograph some moves after they left the group…sad to see Mariahs decline …people will end up not going to her shows…

  19. Ozogirl says:

    Neither performance is good, but the more recent one is downright embarrassing. The outfit, the “dancing”…OMG. Even Britney puts in more effort than that. It’s sad how Mariah has ruined her own career by the diva behavior and not taking care of her once beautiful voice 🙁

  20. Miss M says:

    I saw Mariah in the Christmas specisl concert she does in NYC every year. She looked fantastic and slim.
    I think the end of the engagement did a number on her…
    Mariah, stop drinking your splash and take care of your voice like you used to do!!

  21. Shannon says:

    I think she’s run out of f***s to give and hell, why shouldn’t she? As far as I know, she doesn’t really NEED money and maybe being a single mother changed her focus. I know when I found out my little boy was struggling in school and I decided to homeschool, I quit my job and got my real estate license (so I can have flexible hours) and work took the back burner in a serious way. I’m not saying that’s her issue, but she did work hard to get where she’s at now, so maybe she does want to take a step back and why shouldn’t she? And yeah, she probably is pretty full of herself, but whatever. She has earned a lot, fair and square.

  22. Rumorhasit says:

    There are rumors that her manager is keeping her sufficiently medicated and drunk to be able to steal money from her. The hardcore fans are on to it. If that is true… Well, that’s just sad.