American Idol 12 – Nicki Minaj Talks Frankly with Reporters

In a conference call with reporters today, American Idol judge, Nicki Minaj, was totally blunt when asked whether she believed an of the remaining guys had a chance to win. “No. Not a chance” she answered.  Read on to find out which contestants Nicki thinks are the front runners, which contestants she could possibly see her self collaborating with, and whether she’d consider returning to Idol next season.


Did she have a favorite gay contestant that auditioned? “I definitely think Papa Peachez was probably the most dear to my heart, only because I felt that he was such a superstar But I don’t think he really knew that yet. Whenever I meet someone where I feel like they don’t really know their own worth, it kinda bothers me. I thought he was so exciting. I wanted to see him perform his original music every week. Unfortunately, he got overshadowed by all the other big singers.”

What does she like about Amber Holcomb. What does she need to do to make it to the final, “What I loved about her, was that she got hardly any airtime prior to Vegas. I feel like America didn’t even know she existed until Vegas shows. She already had something going against her. When she sang “My Funny Valentine, it’s like she became a young Whitney Houston. I think everyone was just blown away. I think that it’s really exciting that we got to see her become a superstar, as opposed to already figuring out that she was one of the contenders that was already on everyone’s minds. She needs to come on stage and treat it like she’s fighting for her life, every single night.  Last week, for whatever reason–probably was resting on her laurels thinking ‘everybody loves me now, I don’t have to have such a dynamic performance.’ And then she was in the bottom 3. If she comes out there and keeps that sparkle in her eye every single week, and keeps on making it feel like it could be her possible last time on stage, I think that she’ll be fine. I think her voice is out of this world.”

What have been her best and worst moments on Idol? “I don’t have a worst Idol moment. I’ve been spectacular. Yes, I’m going to toot my own horn. My best moment is every single moment. I’ll toot it again.”

A reporter from MTV asked, “You’ve made quite a splash on the show so far. You kind of showed up late a little bit last week, you’ve been kind of speaking your mind. Are you kind of surprised by how easy it’s been for you to kind of get out there and be yourself and share your criticisms and your compliments?  Nicki  responded, “OK. The first part of your question had nothing to do with the question you ended up answering. I’m just going to pass on that question”  Nicki was clearly irritated.

Who does she see at the front runner for season 12? “I would say Kree, and Angie, I think are the front runners. (thinks for a moment) Kree, Angie and Candice.  I think that outside of their voices, they’ve won people over already, which I think is evident from what I see on twitter with my fans. Those three seem to have really really made an impact–not only with just a great voice that sounds like it already should be making albums–but for some reason [with} their personalities.”

How does she feel about winning new fans over since joining Idol? “I think God is good. I feel like my entire career and life I’ve been judged by people who really did not know me. But I definitely think that they probably were right to assume what they had assumed about me, because there was so little to go on out there. If you’ve only seen videos, and me being crazy, and hearing little things here and there, then obviously you’re not going to have any idea who I really am. I’m just happy that Idol producers gave me a shot on the show– and to be able to show who I really was–because I feel like I’m every single woman. I really really don’t think outside of, maybe some pink wigs, that there’s anything that separates me from every other woman in America. I’m just happy that I was given the opportunity. Some people don’t get an opportunity to show the world who they really are. Some people come out and put an album out and people just never talk about them again. But I was given an opportunity to show who I was as a human being and I really appreciate that.”

On critiquing contestants based on their whole package, not just their vocals, “I don’t think that [styling} will have anything to do with them winning Idol, because I feel like the Idol viewer is really not biased when it comes to the look. But, I think that, when you go out into the real world as an artist, you may want to think about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with thinking about how you want to look, how you want to present yourself to the world. I also think that they need to hear criticism on their look on the show because that’s what they’re going to be criticized on in the real world. They’re going to go on blogs every single day and see themselves on worst dressed lists, or best dressed lists, or saying they look bad, or whatever. So they need to start getting an idea of the real world.”

If Nicki is asked to return to American Idol next season, will she? “I think people would rather be surprised. I like to save the mystery and the drama. I’d never give that away. I always say this–and I mean it from the bottom of my heart–the people behind the scenes at Idol have been a dream to work with, and I really really honestly mean that. Mike Darnell [FOX Reality Chief] took a chance on me, nobody else understood it, they were like ‘Nicki who?’ He took a chance on me, he believed in me–his daughter and his wife believed in me. I’m just super grateful to have been given the opportunity.”

The reporter wanted Nicki to compare him to a food, “Do you wear glasses?” He answered “Oh my God, how did you know? ” She answered, “Because you sound like you wear glasses. I want to call you a sting bean.” He answered, “Wow, it’s like you’re in the room with me.”

How does she feel about being a polarizing figure on the panel, “I am absolutely just being me. I didn’t know what to expect. I had a lot of anxiety. I felt like ‘I know everybody is just going to hate me. Oh well.’  There were moments in the audition process that I would say to the producers, ‘I can’t do this anymore, because if everyone is going to give good critique, and I’m going to be the only being honest, then America is going to hate me. I’m going to be seen as mean.’ And the producers said, ‘Nicki. Trust me, America is going to appreciate the honesty.’ And that’s all I had to go on. I had Mike Darnell, and Trish, and Nigel telling me, ‘take their word.’  And that’s what I did. I took their word and I came in every day and I was myself. What people see me doing with the contestants is exactly what I do with my fans.  I don’t critique my fans, but I definitely play with my fans and speak to my fans as if they are my friends. That’s why I started giving the contestants nicknames. When I’m laughing on the show, I’m genuinely laughing. I can’t come up there and pretend–I just can’t do it. I can’t be someone I’m not. I can’t sit there with a phony smile on my face. I can’t do it. I’m happy that people are responding well to it. I definitely didn’t have a preconceived notion of who I was going to be on that panel.”

Is the experience what she thought it would be? “I didn’t have a real idea. It was so far-fetched from my reality. I’ve never done anything even remotely close to this. I had no idea. I think that’s why I was so afraid. I didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t. But I’m happy about the way it ended up turning out, because it’s a fun thing, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. I feel like people have gotten to know the real me. That’s all I can ask for. If they like it or not, at least they are getting to know who I really am.”

Is there anything in particular she’s been surprised to learn about herself as a person through judging American Idol? “I’ve been more surprised about the way people have reacted to me. Because, it almost seems like people weren’t expecting artists to come up there as judges and be completely real. That’s the only thing that puzzled me. I just thought ‘Hm. Isn’t that what we should be doing? Why is that so shocking to people?’ I guess the other thing, is that I didn’t realize that maybe I am a bit strange. Because the way people react to what I say to the contestants–that’s really how I act, but people think it’s kind of strange. Like when I asked Kree to marry me. I didn’t think that that was strange. But I guess looking back at it now, maybe no Idol judge has asked a contestant to marry them on live TV. I don’t know. I guess in general, I’m just surprised at the way people react to things that I see as very normal.”

As a judge who is emotionally connected to the contestants, is it hard when someone is eliminated? “I  was gutted when Curtis left, because I feel like Curtis had the best male voice for the entire season. And he was exciting. I couldn’t wait to see him perform. And looking back now, I wish we would have given him the save. I really do.”

What surprised her about American Idol, “One of the things I was probably shocked about was how interested the world is in American Idol and how people–writers write about Idol all the time. I guess I didn’t expect that.”

If Nicki had the opportunity to give herself a nickname, what would she call herself? “Young Hov”

Any explanation behind that? “No, I don’t want to explain it. Either you understand it, or you don’t. And if you don’t understand it, it makes it even weirder.”

Which contestant could she see herself collaborating with and why? “I would love to collaborate with…probably Burnell. He has a John Legend thing that I could definitely see myself collaborating with.”

How does she balance giving contestants honest advice without upsetting them? How does she balance the two? “I don’t really think about balancing anything. I just react on my raw emotions. This last week, I sympathized with Lazaro and that’s just where my heart went. With Paul Jolley, I felt like ‘Your time is up.’ Even when I’m saying ‘Your time is up’ or  ‘That was a bad performance,’ I still care about these people. These people are sweet, they’re loving, they’re chasing their dreams, their families are there. I’m always, in my heart, caring about them. I never try to hurt them at all. I just say what I really really feel.  I have been finding lately that I’ve been probably–since we’re down to the very best of the best–I’ve definitely been trying to say things in a way that won’t discourage them, because I want them to continue shining. Whereas maybe in the beginning I would say it in a blunt way–sometimes now because we’ve gotten so close to them–I say it in a way that I just want them to fix it for next week so that they can actually stay in the competition and get votes.”

Is there even a chance for a guy to win this season? “No. Absolutely not.”

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Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
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  • Jason Scott

    I just love her honesty. So refreshing.

  • blackberryharvest

    Did she have a favorite gay contestant that auditioned?

    I don’t know why that is a relevant question. Who cares if they are gay or not?

  • jms

    What have been her best and worst moments on Idol? “I
    don’t have a worst Idol moment. I’ve been spectacular. Yes, I’m going to
    toot my own horn. My best moment is every single moment. I’ll toot it

    …..Not even the time she was late? lol

    I do like her answers, though. They come off pretty honest.

  • mjsbigblog

    A reporter from a gay publication asked the question. It is certainly relevant to them.

  • Jake W.

    We need that kind of honesty this season.

  • Li Wright

    She’s out front and she is polarizing. But isn’t that what the producers want?
    And it may help that she doesn’t sing and consider herself a singer. Let the singers criticize the singers, if Nicki wants to talk about style that’s okay with me. She just hogs the table, that’s what I don’t like. Two sentences that’s all that’s needed, not a whole paragraph.

  • LeoCS

    If only this honesty could be used to give reasonable criticism to all the contestants…

  • Elizabeth

    Well seeing as how Randy and Simon aren’t singers… your whole comment is irrelevant.

  • Jason Scott

    Well, Mariah spews out a novel every episode….

  • abbysee

    I find her actually kind of dull now. Sorta like finding out Santa is just grandpa in a fat suit. She’s style no substance. Papa Peaches? Most interesting thing is she thinks a girl is gonna win, but she’d work with Burnell. Hmmm. That’s yet another reason they stacked the deck this year.

  • Face

    what I don’t get is… she’d record with Burnell, and felt Curtis had the best male voice and was worth saving… yet thinks the boys have no chance… and she sees Candice, Kree and Angie as the ones to beat… sounds to me like her opinions differ to TPTB…

  • dante

    I thought I would hate Nicki……and she is my favorite judge!! Keith Urban is
    eye candy and my second fav. Still think Randy is totally useless.

    I admire Nicki even more after this interview. She tells it like she feels it. Closest thing to Simon. I do think it is inexcusable that she was late.

  • dante

    I like 3 of the female singers but find this group soooooooo boring. Nicki is the only fun and exciting and daring person on the show.

  • Axxxel

    Not really…. Do you see Nicki collaborating with Kree or Angie or even Candice ?

  • Face

    I could see her collaborating with Candice more than Burnell… Candice has passion and personality…

  • Karen C

    I could think of several bad moments Nicki’s had on the show. I do pretty much agree with what she’s said about the contestants.

  • Larc

    I don’t like Nicki nearly as much as she very clearly likes loves herself. She’s been spectacular? As swollen as her head is, I’m surprised she can find a blonde wig to fit it.

  • Axxxel

    Better not ask that type of questions to me, my gaydar is not functioning well…

  • Myrrna

    blah blah blah…idiotic waffles comment blah blah blah…inappropriate sexual comment blah blah blah stfu Clownbangs

  • Myrrna

    blah blah blah…idiotic waffles comment blah blah blah…inappropriate sexual comment blah blah blah stfu Clownbangs

  • elliegrll

    I don’t think that any of the judges have been shortchanged when it comes to getting screentime. Mariah talks a lot, but rarely says anything, but for the most part the things that Nicki has said are true. I also remember Simon Cowel spending a lot of time critiquing people’s wardrobes, hair, personalities, etc. It’s not like that’s something new with the idol panel.

  • lovesickheroine

    Hov is Jay-Z’s other rap name so, Nicki basically considers herself as a young female version of Jay Z. Hmmm

  • Garrett Clayman

    ive been watching idol religiously since season 2, and I can honestly say Nicki is the best thing ever to happen to it. I really believe that if she doesn’t come back, neither will I

  • imbored3250

    Young Hov, a young Jay? Ahaha love it.

  • imbored3250

    You sound salty.

  • Jason Gorny

    Bright side is that assuming that it follow the pattern of the show, season 13’s talent pool will be awesome so it should be similar to season 10, 7, and 4, and maybe 1.

  • Axxxel

    I also consider the sexual comments inappropriate but i like the waffel comment.

  • Axxxel

    The thing is, Candice sings better than Nicki…

  • Axxxel

    and Keith is also exciting to me…

  • Axxxel

    True, I thought despite the lack of chemistry… I actually like the judges this year…

  • jms

    The “Young Hov” name is funnier to me because Super Bass slowed down makes Nicki Minaj sound like a super effeminate Jay-Z.

  • HKfan

    10 wasn’t awesome…….

  • jane

    Nicki has a new fan with me and I never, never, never thought I would like her so much. I really think she has added a lot to the judges panel.
    Glad to see her toss some love to Burnell — he is my favorite guy this season by far.

  • standtotheright

    Minaj really made her name as a featured artist, which means that she is used to collaborating with people who are accomplished vocalists. Don’t see why that should be an issue for her. Maybe she just saw something in Taylor that she thinks isn’t being captured on TV.

  • standtotheright

    I am going to have to try this. LOL.

  • dd999

    Aside from Nicki’s sexual comments which are not funny or appropriate for many Idol watchers, she does give her honest opinion on performances to the contestants. I think, the panel doesn’t gel well, because her and Mariah appear to have no respect for each other, AT ALL, and the tension shows. Keith amidst this foray, does, quietly come up with some subtle humor, now and then, that is actually funny! IMO

  • James M. Davis

    So does Alicia Keys, yet there is Nicki rapping on Girl on Fire. Food for thought.

  • MyDailyComment

    Previously any outwardly strange or gay seeming people would not have gotten as much of a chance. They would have said “you are too gay.”

  • MyDailyComment

    “your whole comment is irrelevant.”

    I hope to say that to someone some day