Even though “American Idol” is about finding the next great pop star, rapper Nicki Minaj revealed at an Idol news conference that hip hop will always be close to her heart.
At a news conference on Monday where she talked about how amazing it was to her that she was now part of the esteemed panel of judges, Minaj said she was a fan of “Idol” from the show’s beginning.
“I remember watching ‘American Idol’ in the first season and feeling inspired,” Minaj said. “I spoke to [season 6 winner] Jordin Sparks the other day and here she is starring in a movie [‘Sparkle’] and I said to her, ‘I remember watching you and picking up my phone.'”
But there was just one thing: Minaj didn’t vote for Sparks, the last female to win Idol. She said her mother liked Sparks, but she and her little brother preferred the beatboxer Blake Lewis.
“Because my little brother was more obsessed over the Blake person because he was like, more, you know, hip-hop, whatever,” she said. “But I told her [Sparks] that, ‘you know you’re a part of history, kind of. Because I remember calling and seeing your face and being inspired and hearing your story.”
Minaj said she had gotten calls from some of the many Idol imitators to join their panels, but when Idol call she answered.
“This is such a credible brand,” she said. “It’s real…ly serious, it’s real deal, it’s not anything else other than really looking for talent. If I can be a part of that I’m really down for it.”
Minaj wore a demure straight blonde wig and somewhat conservative short-sleeved top for the news conference, keeping those famous curves under wraps—at least for now.
As for the much-awaited feud between Minaj and Mariah Carey—Carey laughed at the reports.
“How are we gonna feud in two days?” Carey said. “It’s fun, it’s music, it’s singing, it’s laughter.”
Meanwhile, members of the hip hop community debated the ways that Minaj might open up new audiences for hip hop as a member of the Idol panel.
Wiz Khalifa told MTV News that if the Nicki could judge “Idol,” then he could see himself as a judge in the future.
Brian Miller, content director at RapRadar.com, told MTV that his site didn’t post anything “Idol” related last season, but said now that Minaj is on the panel, things might change. Maybe.
“Maybe if Nicki has a certain highlight, we’ll post it, but I still can’t see covering it every week,” he said.