Nicki Minaj: Harshest American Idol Judge Ever?

Nicki Minaj

I thought Simon Cowell was the harshest American Idol judge, but Nicki Minaj gave him a run for his money last night. She not only criticized the singing of the singers, but their attitude and demeanor as well. She seemed to enjoy trashing the singing of Matheus Fernandes and then added insult to injury by saying he was choosing songs about his height, so he could have a pity party. She could have handled this situation better, by telling him backstage not to dwell on his height.

Matheus Fernandes
Matheus Fernandez

Fernandes may be remembered by some viewers, when he competed in The Glee Project on the Oxygen channel in 2011. The 4′ 9″ Fernandes was the shortest of all the American Idol contestants in the 2012 season.

Mariah Carey, who I had considered as a diva of the first magnitude showed a lot more class than Minaj during the show last night. Keith Urban and Randy Jackson didn’t seem to get as much camera time, as Minaj since she obviously enjoyed having the spotlight on herself, rather than on the contestants, who should have been in the spotlight. It is almost like Minaj enjoys stabbing the contestants with a knife and then gives it a little twist for maximum shock effect.

I think it was important that American Idol brought back Randy Jackson for Season 12, to give the show some stability. Keith Urban has shown how well he knows American music, by knowing a song that one of the singers hadn’t heard of, with Urban being from Australia.

American Idol Officials Choose Groups

With the judges picking which contestants were in each group it eliminated some of the drama. There was no drama of someone begging to join a group, or to be kicked out of a group and finding a new group. However, there was still the drama of not all the singers liking a song choice. One group in particular had a country singer, who was trying to learn a Maroon 5 song Moves Like Jagger. The song choice sealed his fate as he couldn’t remember the words and was clearly uncomfortable singing a song out of his comfort zone.

TV Ratings Down

American Idol premiered this year on January 16 and drew only 17.93 million viewers, which was the lowest since the show debuted in 2002 with 9.8 million viewers. This was the first season since 2002, that less than 20 million viewers watched a premiere show.

A season low 13.28 million viewers watched American Idol last night and this is during the Hollywood week.

The proliferation of singing competitions has dealt American Idol a blow, that they may never recover from. To make matters worse The Voice will be returning again, about three months after ending their fall version in December. That could put a further dent into American Idol ratings. X-Factor finished their season a month before the 2013 debut of American Idol.

It would not surprise me to see a viewer backlash against Nicki Minaj, if she continues to belittle the contestants in such a cruel way. The way she is behaving tells me she won’t be back for Season 13.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

11 thoughts on “Nicki Minaj: Harshest American Idol Judge Ever?”

  1. Hey Andrew, I have to disagree with you here. I think Nicki’s critique was right on the money. Fernandez can’t go through life playing the short card. We all have our obstacles in life and as a writer I know to thank an editor for his/her critique and not to make excuses. And when I am working as editor, the worst thing a writer can do is make excuses for sloppy work.

    I think Nicki’s critique will make Fernandez stronger in the long run. If he comes to a stage with more confidence, rather than expecting pity, he’ll be so much better off. And I wish him the best.

    I didn’t like Nicki at first, but she grew on me. I think she’s just very intense. (Her eyes always freaked me out, but I got used to her). Plus, she defended that female country singer awhile back when the three other judges didn’t feel she was qualified. And I agreed with her on that.

  2. Maryanne, Thank you for sharing your opinion on Nicki Minaj. My main objection was that she didn’t tell Fernandes backstage, instead of in front of 13 million viewers. I did respect Nicki for defending the country singer.

      1. Maryanne….I think the producers were thinking this is good TV, so included Nicki’s harsh comments to Fernandes, when they should have considered the feelings of Fernandes and cut out her comments.

  3. I think Nicki Minaj has a split personality going on here. One minute she’s English, the next she’s British. She’s just a nut case. She needs to find something else besides American Idol. She’s the down fall for this show.

    1. I agree….Nicki is bringing American Idol down. If she and Mariah get into it again, then the show will really lose viewers. The viewers want to hear the singers, not see the judges feuding.

      1. I love how Randy doesn’t get into it with their fights. He always turns his head when Mariah rolls her eyes or seems to want to get back at Nicki.

  4. Perhaps Nicki should have used more tact in timing her constructive critique, but he deserved it. Fernandes is putting himself out there in the public arena and subjecting himself to the court of public opinion. He is part of a generation of irritating youth raised on the exaggerations anyone can become president as long as you don’t point out their shortcomings. “I am free to be who I want to be!”

    Well, you do not become president without possessing the education, experience, and natural talent to become president. (Oh, that’s a good set up for an Obama joke, but I’ll refrain.) Who we are free to be rarely pans out for who we’ve become.

    Our celebrity induced culture has propagandized our little boys and little girls into believing the glitz and glamour of sex, drugs, and rock & roll is a guarantee for all who seek fame and fortune.
    Little effort and well meaning encouragement from friends and family is all you need for America to see your undiscovered talent. To hell with actual talent. I’ve learned encouragement without honest assessment of ability is misleading.

    Some will have their cake and eat it too. Most will not and will fill the classrooms of higher eduation and vocational schools or asking, “Do you want fries with that?”

    The more truthful, accurate mantra often touted in clever marketing is, “I am free to be me.” Ain’t that the gospel truth? We are limited to what biology, society, and the thickness of our skin to determine who we will become. That is who “Me” is.

    Some of these things can be overcome, but only by sheer determination guided by strength of character. That’s where we become free when we can break free from the shackles of biology and opinion.

    Very few, from the last two generations, have the werewithal to break free. It’s too hard. However, they have the ability to star in the next exploitative reality show. Lack of character and motivation is sure to bring about fame and fortune. Any idiot with an imagination can become the next reality TV star. Disregard character, respect, and morality and embrace licentiousness and a reality star is born.

    Nicki’s judgments represents the harsh reality of the real world. If Fernandes feelings are injured, well, there is plenty of tissue backstage and mom is cell phone call away. That’s okay. He needs support and encouragment, we all do. Let’s hope the voice on the end says, “It’s true. Buck up and sing big.”

    1. Jim, I appreciate your comment on Nicki Minaj. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, so welcome all comments. I have to agree that Fernandes should not have mentioned his height, but like you wrote Nicki needed to use more tact.

  5. Maryanne, I am glad that Randy returned to American Idol. I think he realizes, that he needs to be a peacemaker, so the show won’t continue to be about the judges, but more about the contestants.

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