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‘Idol’ judge assesses her performance

Published: Fri, April 5, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

McClatchy Newspapers


Nicki Minaj likes to do things her own way. She says what’s on her mind. She shows up whenever it suits her. And she couldn’t care less if somebody doesn’t like her style.

That’s why she is a polarizing presence in her first season at the “American Idol” judges table.

Minaj’s critique of her best and worst moments so far on the show, which airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday on Fox?

“I don’t have a worst ‘Idol’ moment,” she declares. “I’ve been spectacular. Yes, I’m going to toot my own horn. And then, my best moment is every single moment. I’ll toot it again.”

Q. Do you think the show has allowed you to expand your fan base by introducing you to people who were unfamiliar with you as an artist?

A. 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. If you only see 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 the “Idol” producers gave me a shot to show who I really was. I feel like I’m every woman. Outside of maybe some pink wigs, there’s not anything that separates me from every other woman in America.

Some people don’t get an opportunity to show the world who they really are. Some people 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.

Q. How hard or easy is it for you to dish out harsh criticism?

A. I am absolutely just being me. I didn’t know what to expect going in. I was so nervous. I had a lot of anxiety. I felt like, “OK, I know everybody’s just going to hate me.”

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 criticism and I’m going to be the only one 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.”

Q. Who do you see as the front-runners to win this season?

A. Kree, Angie and Candice. I think that outside of their voices, they’ve just sort of won people over already, which is evident in what I see on Twitter.

with my fans. Those three singers have really made an impact, not only with just a great voice that sounds like it should already be making albums, but for their personalities.

Q. What are your thoughts about doing this next season?

A. I think people would rather be surprised. I like to save the mystery and the drama. I never give that away.

Q. You often focus not just on the singing, but on the contestant’s total look, down to the lipstick. Do you feel that the look is as important as the performance?

A. I think so. I don’t think that ultimately it 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 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 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. Every single day. Worst dressed lists, best dressed lists.

So they need to start getting an idea of the real world.

Q. Of the contestants that you’ve had on the show, who would you like to collaborate with?

A. I would love to collaborate with probably Burnell. He has a thing that I could definitely see myself collaborating with.

Q. When you’ve established a connection with certain contestants, is it hard to watch them get eliminated?

A. I was gutted when Curtis left, because I feel like Curtis, his voice, he has the best male voice for the entire season and he was exciting. I couldn’t wait to see him perform.

Looking back now, I wish we would have given him the save.

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