Nicki Minaj’s ‘American Idol’ Debut: Review Revue

Last night (January 16), Nicki Minaj made her long-awaited American Idol debut. After all the feud nonsense leading up to it, it was a pretty cordial passive-aggressive affair, with Nicki and Mariah Carey sniping at each other about various hard hitting issues like hats and British accents throughout the episode. (There was also the odd issue of them playing musical chairs.)

These first couple episodes try to cram so much in that’s it’s hard to get a feel for the judges (not to mention the contestants). But that won’t stop anyone from sharing their instant reactions on the matter! So let’s see what the web had to say about Nicki’s debut. (As for us? We thought the biggest takeaway, besides the hats, was that “Nicki is going to be a endless source of eye-rolling GIFs and giant gnashing teeth.) Read the roundup of reviews below.

:: E! also homed in on Nicki’s eye-rolling, and said that because of all the interrupting between the two divas, “Idol is going to resemble The View this season.”

:: USA Today sang Nicki’s praises: “The viewers who can see past her outrageous outfits and mood-ring hair color will find a woman who has a very clear vision of what she wants to find in a contestant — as well as a heart full of compassion for the socially awkward people the show attracts. She may take some getting used to, but Minaj has the potential to be the best judge Idol has seen since about two years before Simon Cowell jumped ship.”

:: The Hollywood Reporter enjoyed Minaj’s shtick. “She’s funny, unfiltered, and clearly on the hunt for more than just a passable vocalist. She also encourages the bad singers to continue their auditions, and afterwards, flirts with them as if to cushion the blow rejection.”

:: Rolling Stone was taken by Nicki’s nurturing behavior as well. “Nicki, however, stops [contestant James Bae] and makes him believe that even though he can’t sing, he is special. She holds his hand and makes him believe it. It’s strangely touching, and a hopeful sign of the mentoring process for the season to come.”

:: Fox News also highlighted Minaj’s suprising, softer side (collusion!): “She was exceptionally sweet and encouraging to all of the contestants – even while offering a blunt assessment on their lack of vocal talents.”

:: Vulture felt that the “frisky, tooth-baring” Nicki lobbed “a couple of half-decent zingers” throughout the ep.

:: EW said it was obvious Nicki was the panel’s alpha dog, and they were OK with that. “By the second hour of NYC auditions, Nicki had completely taken over the panel — shouting out directions to the contestants and always speaking first. You know, it’s generally fine if someone feels the need to do that. Compared to the autopilot judging on The X Factor and even Idol last season, I am thrilled to have someone in the driver’s seat.”

What did you think of Nicki’s judging debut? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter and Facebook.

  • D. Repka

    Minaj is just plain annoying and totally self-absorbed! I’ve watched every previous season, but I think like many of the contestants, it’s the end of the road for me.

  • Angela

    Why did she roll her eyes when those people were rejoicing moving onward? That was extremely distasteful. She’s so full of it it’s not even funny.

  • Bugg

    Minaj is making a joke of American Idol. End of the road for me too. What were they thinking when they picked her?

    • angry bird

      I am with the majority, here. I cannot stand watching the show anymore, all because of Nicki. I will never watch another season if she is on the show.

  • Lin

    Nicki is disgusting. I don’t know who is producing Idol, but I am sick of it. I have watched all the seasons, and seem to like it less each year. It has become more about the judges and stupid needless drama and less about the Idols. Won’t be watching this year.

  • eddy kev

    I think Nicki bringing some kind of fun into the show, i Like her.

  • Harry

    I’ve watched every season of American Idol, I’M DONE! Nicki Minaj ruins it. Seems like the show is all about her and not the contestants. Her griping with Mirah Carey is SOOOOOOOOOO annoying. Drop her now.

  • Sabrina

    Nicki talks way too much and ruins the show. I shut it off…

  • Randy

    Cant stand the crazy bitch, don’t want to watch anymore because of her. What the hell were they thinking making her a judge?

  • suziehotrod

    “What’s the point unless she can make you laugh at least once a day”

    She even calls the other diva “Carey” Get a grip people, she is hilarious. It is not rude to be politically incorrect. Christina was such a spoiled brat at the end. Same as the girls who are just jealous of not being able to pull it off and get away with the things Nicki can.

    I can’t remember the last time I saw somebody with that many persona’s. Can’t wait to see them all pop out again and I wonder how many more are in there. She deserves at least the same money as Carey. Carey is just as important because she gives the panel balance and Nicki needs her to bounce off of. It wouldn’t work without all of them up there. Can you imagine the show without her? Boring!

    She is just warming up. Wait until the live shows.

    I doubt even the “Idle” brass expected things to be this fresh and original. The show went on without Simon but after this season if she doesn’t come back things might never be the same.

    Watch “The Voice” new panel choke if they try to go up against Nicki in the same time slot.

  • dudesummersell

    Why does she make herself look so goofy, like Bozo the Clown fell into a blender?

  • Mark Bellaire

    Pretty bad when all the news and music mags mentioned above can be honest about how self serving and prideful Nik is. Expecting the lowest ratings ever, if not the end of Idol if fox and Nigel dont make a course correction for the show soon. Too many are tuning out to not be noticed. I dont expect any shatered records this year.

  • Former watcher

    I refuse to watch it anymore, along with my mother and mother in law. The constant belittling and degrading nikki does to maraiah is exactly what I try to teach my children not to do to other children. She is an embarrassment. I used to watch the show to relieve stress and escape, now it adds stress because of the childish way she acts towards Mariah. Putting her on the show is the worst thing that idol has ever done.

  • Used to be a fan of Idol

    Nicki is annoying and ridiculous. I couldn’t even get through 10 minutes of the show this year because of her. What was American Idol thinking when they put her on the panel? I can’t believe the Idol producers really thought Nicki Minaj, and/or a feud between the judges is what the Idol viewers want to watch. Just shows how out of touch they are with their own viewers.

  • BB

    Nicki’s nasally voice alone is enough to make me want to change the channel. It would be great with just Randy, Mariah and Keith. From the very little that I saw of this season’s AI, it’s all about how outrageous Nicki is. I don’t get it.

  • Sharon

    Nicki is obnoxious. It is interesting that the media is saying how great she was but all of the feedback on the American Idol forum and here from the people they want to watch is that people DO NOT like her.

  • Opinionated

    Can her. Disguisting, attention seeking $%#@. To be fair, she was surprisingly articulate and thoughtful once or twice. Horrible role model, and rude. Really enjoyed Keith Urban and Mariah. I like AI better with THREE judges and more time spent on the contestants.

  • Sarah

    I’ve watched this show since season one when everything was done right, and when the criticism and voting felt legitimate. I’m not sure when it happened, or how it happened, but the last few years have been sloppy, and this is the absolute end for me. The clown chick is predictable (“Oh, hi, cute boy. Do you have a girlfriend?”) and possibly the most annoying person I’ve seen on tv. Keith, Mariah and Randy simply look embarrassed. They’re all better than this show, and this show is too good for that thing wearing the make-up mask from K-Mart.

  • Sue

    I tried watching last week. Turned it off after 1/2 hour the second night and I won’t be turning it back on unless they dump Nikki before the show goes live. I can’t stand her,she is very annoying and rude to Mariah. Randy seems to be beside himself. I’m sure he is humilated by her behavior.

  • Vicki

    You went from a quaity family show to the bong show with that stupid Nicki M .

  • Ev

    I am no longer a fan of Idol. If Nicki is let go immediately I may start watching again!
    What ever possessed them to have Nicki as a judge! She is so immature and the very weakest link on the program. She may sing well but that is where it ends . She needs to be muzzled

  • Lou

    Nicki is one of the most self centered people I have ever seen, she seems to have a need to have all the attention constantly on her, when it is supposed to be about the contestants! And what is with her giving everyone a stupid nickname…wish one of them would tell her they are perfectly happy with their own names! I cannot stomach her and I too will not continue watching with her on there. How unfair for the contestants to have someone like her as a so called judge! American idol, are you that out of touch that you actually think your viewers want to watch someone like her? She is ruining the show just like Conda ruined biggest loser!!

  • Joe

    SHOW SHOULD NOW BE CALLED AMERICAN IDIOTS, NICKI THE CHIEF OF THEM! Here is another viewer that won’t be watching this season, who needs all that drama when you set down to relax and watch a show. Watching that pink haired chick constantly roll her eyes at other’s comments makes ya just feel like slapping her.

  • kchip

    I agree, not only does Nicki add “0″ in terms of her judging ability but she is ruining the show.

  • Ese

    I am still shocked that AI chose Nicki to be a judge. She is not of the same caliber as the rest of the judges and certainly not Mariah. Her abrasive, take control behavior is a solid sign of insecurity amongst her peers. Starving for all of the attention.

  • G.I. Jane

    Niki is an idiot. I can’t stand her. she is over process and superficial . Whoever is responsible for choosing Minaj as a judge sure got it wrong. Atleast you could have selected a judge who can sing and have a range greater than a monotone. Niki Minaj has no business judging talent when she is devoid of talent herself. Mariah you are my hero.

  • Brenda

    Omg! I just tuned into American Idol for the first time this year. Wow! I want to punch Niki in face! The look on her face alone annoys the crap out of me. Did you see how she looks at Keith when he is judging. GET RID OF HER! This will be American Idol’s last year if they don’t get rid of her. I cannot bear to watch, and that used to be one of my favorite shows.

  • alicem

    The show has taken a downturn. I think Nicki thinks her opinion is the only one that matters and is right. The other judges don’t or can’t fight the juvenile tantrums. Talented people w/future careers are being comprimised for this travasty…….
    Joanette won over the others????? OMG!!!!!!! Is it the tough life and struggle she’s had that Nicki feels, it certainly isn’t talent???????????? It’s certainly not the vocals…………. Isn’t this what this show is about, vocals?????????????
    NY state of Mind man is out???????????? Who’s listening to this????????????? These are judges?????????????
    If I would want the best of 20;’ I would listen to 20 and cut 10. This random 10:10 is not fair beside the biased judges. This year is based on struggle and NOT talent.
    I can’t wait for America’s vote. It will be unbiased..
    Very sad for the ones who unfairly got cut……………………

  • Kmnordy

    Obnoxious nasally whiney voice. Horrible to listen to her.


    Nick is calming down a bit but she will never and I mean never a good judge. she is so self centered and she picks on the contestants hair or cloths.
    She should be fired for calling a white contestant “A Marchmellow”. How degrading is that?
    And Randy laughter! Not funny Randy and I thought you had more class than her.

  • Gwen

    I am not comfortable wit Niki’s remarks, eg “You are a little marshmallow, I could eat you.” and “I want you for my wife.” It seems inappropriate and it seems obvious some of the contestants are not ok with it. She is a good judge though, and seems to really know talent when she sees it.

  • S J Tan

    Nicky Minaj has not earned the right to be a judge or mentor on American Idol or any talent show for that matter. Plus the only word she seems to know is “obsessed” and half the time her comments are irrelevant and senseless. Jennifer Lopez was so much better – better to look at and more sensible comments.

  • S J Tan

    Nicky Minaj has not earned the right to be a judge or mentor on American Idol or any talent show for that matter. Plus the only word she seems to know is “obsessed” and half the time her comments are irrelevant and senseless. Jennifer Lopez was so much better – better to look at with more sensible comments.

  • Dolores

    I thought american idol was to promote the contestants and not the judges but this season is only for the judges it,s minnie mouse niki and her off handed comments will not continue wartching idol its notm the contestants but the judges show anymore