Nicki Minaj has made waves as an outspoken, brightly dressed and occasionally late judge on “American Idol.” But the singer said she was worried about how people would respond to her going in to the season.
“I didn’t know what to expect going into the show,” Minaj told reporters Monday. “I was so nervous. I had a lot of anxiety. I thought, ‘Everybody’s just going to hate me.’”
Minaj said she struggled with her impulse to give honest, sometimes scathing critiques to the contestants, when the other judges seemed to give only positive feedback. “There were moments in the audition process that I would say to the producers, ‘I can’t do this anymore, because if everybody’s going to give good critiques and I’m the only one being honest, then everybody in America is going to hate me.’”
She said the “Idol” producers encouraged her to be herself and speak her mind, and that’s what she’s done ever since.
And she’s learned some things about herself in the process.
“I didn’t realize that maybe I am a bit strange,” Minaj said. “Like when I asked Kree (Harrison) to marry me, I didn’t think that was strange, but I guess looking back at I now, maybe no ‘Idol’ judge has asked a contestant to marry them on live TV.”
Minaj picked Kree Harrison, as well as Angie Miller and Candice Glover, as the frontrunners this season. Did she think a guy had the chance to claim the title? “No,” she said, “absolutely not.”
Still, she has some favorites among the male contestants, including Burnell Taylor, with whom she said she could see herself collaborating, and Curtis Finch, Jr. Minaj said that when Finch was eliminated, she felt “gutted.”
Minaj won’t say whether she’ll be back for another season. “I think people would rather be surprised,” she said. “I like to save the mystery and the drama. I never give that away.”
Overall, she thinks she’s done a fine job as a judge so far. Asked about her best and worst moments, she said, “I don’t have a worst ‘Idol’ moment. I’ve been spectacular. Yes I’m gonna toot my own horn. And then my best moment is every single moment, I’ll toot it again.”