Mariah Carey believes her New Year's Eve performance -- which turned out to be a trainwreck -- was sabotaged so TV execs could score bigger ratings than usual.
Sources connected with Mariah tell TMZ they repeatedly complained to execs at Dick Clark Productions that her "inner ears" -- aka earpieces -- were NOT working.
Mariah did an interview with Ryan Seacrest an hour before she took the stage in Times Square and she was having trouble. You can hear her say to Ryan, "It's hard for me to hear you."
We're told after the interview Mariah and her team went to the production trailer and complained to Dick Clark execs her inner ears weren't working. Mariah sources say they were told her inner ears would be on a different frequency when she hit the stage and there would be no problem.
Fast forward to 6 minutes before her performance. Mariah was in the holding tent for last minute makeup, and she was alarmed, telling the production team she could barely hear anything. Mariah sources say they were assured the tent muffled the sound, and it would be fine on stage.
At that point someone said her mic pack wasn't working because the battery was dead, so they changed packs.
Mariah was suspicious and got on stage 4 minutes early to test things out, and she couldn't hear anything in her inner ear. She and her team say they complained repeatedly, but nothing was done.
To make matters worse and even more suspicious, Mariah's people say when she got on stage the prompter wasn't working. The prompter has the lyrics when they appear in the song as well as stage cues.
Mariah ripped the inner earpiece out -- out of frustration -- and thought she had a fighting chance just listening to the music, but the crowd was so loud in Times Square she could hear nothing.
Short story -- Mariah's team believe there are too many coincidences and too many warnings ... they say it was sabotage "so they could get Mariah drama." We know Mariah's people fired off an email to an Exec at Dick Clark Productions, saying, "This is sabotage."
We've reached out to Dick Clark Productions ... so far, no word back.
11:36 AM PT -- Dick Clark Production sources tell TMZ ... Mariah's "sabotage" claim is "silly," seeing how she's the one who decided not to do a sound check, and had a stand-in do it instead. They also say there were 8 monitors on stage amplifying sound, so even without an inner ear, Mariah should have been able to hear just fine. They add Mariah changed her story ... initially saying the track was wrong. Our Dick Clark sources insist her camp provided the track list.