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Here’s some fiddling based on your code, you can preload the images to make sure they’re ready to be shown when hovered:

$('[data-src]').each(function() {

  var img = new Image();
  img.src = $(this).data('src');

$('.carousel__item').mouseenter(function() {

  var value = $(this).attr('data-src');
  $('.carousel__bg img').fadeTo(0,0).attr('src', value).fadeTo(500,1);
.mouseleave(function() {
  $('.carousel__bg img').finish();

Edit – not sure (yet) where the text flicker comes from…