Here comes the latest chapter in the American Idol judging sweepstakes, in which an unlikely candidate is entered into the competition – hip-hop’s very own pop life princess, Nicki Minaj. Yes, rumor has it that the accomplished rapper/singer is very close to signing a deal to become a judge for the 12th season of Idol.
Prior to Minaj, a lot of big names have been floated to replace Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and perhaps even Randy Jackson on the show.
Aretha Franklin was reportedly a contender. Pharrell Williams was supposedly being considered, and teen heart throb Nick Jonas actually started a half-hearted Twitter campaign to win a seat.
Mariah Carey recently accepted a seat on the prestigious panel, announcing, “I can’t wait to channel my creative energy as a part of this show which is a massive global phenomenon.” Read: I can’t wait to leverage my appearance on this show to raise my professional profile.
That said, Idol makes perfect sense for Carey, who needs all the exposure she can get as an aging pop star. However, Minaj’s involvement in the show is very unexpected. Here is a woman who is steadily climbing towards the apex of her career; wouldn’t she be better served with time in the studio to make up for her underwhelming Roman’s Revenge album, and concert dates to appease her ever-growing army of Barbies?
Yet Idol has the one thing Minaj craves — a crossover audience and massive pop culture presence.
How would Minaj fare on the judging panel? Well for one, she might as well brace herself for the critics who feel she doesn’t have what it takes to judge singing – she is, after all, a rapper. However she is also a LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts alum, so that’s something, right? Minaj has always struck me as someone who really wants to be considered and respected as much for her singing talents as her rapping skills, so no doubt she will take her Idol gig very seriously.
My real concern: Who’s going to be the mean one?
A judging panel is nothing without a picky critic who crushes young egos with withering stares and insults, and cheers them once they’ve finally met their true potential. I’ve got hope for Carey, who’s diva personality seems capable of delivering some well handed blows, but like all celebrities, being likeable keeps her in business.
I doubt Minaj will be the one to cut contestants down to size, and more likely will be the one to tell them to keep pursuing their dreams, even if their singing sounds like a strangled cat. Our only hope would be “Roman Zolanski” making a guest appearance.
I’m all for Minaj’s multiple personalities guesting on the panel — with the sagging ratings and tired format, the show could use all the campy gimmicks it can get.
Follow Kia Miakka Natisse on Twitter at @miakka_natisse