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Nicki Minaj warns rappers to stay away from 'American Idol'

Pop rapper Minaj says she's not aiming to change the show from being an 'honest singing competition.'

January 09, 2013|By Gerrick D. Kennedy
  • Nicki Minaj from "American Idol" attends the TCA Tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 8, 2013.
Nicki Minaj from "American Idol" attends the TCA Tour in Pasadena,… (Todd Williamson / Invision…)

Even though her episodes have yet to hit the airwaves, Nicki Minaj’s addition to the “American Idol” panel has already been one of the competition’s more polarizing decisions during its decade-plus history.

Fans of the aging singing competition were vocal about what the entertainer -- known for  bawdy, razor-sharp raps, colorful wigs and eye-popping garb a la Lady Gaga -- could bring to the panel, especially after the ballyhooed signing of pop diva Mariah Carey.

Online commenters questioned her ability to offer credible criticism to aspiring singers, given her hip-hop background, while others felt she shouldn’t be on a panel with an industry veteran such as Carey. Talk of Minaj’s “adequacy” came to a head in a leaked, expletive-laced argument between the two.   

Whatever the opinions are about Minaj, she made one thing clear to reporters Tuesday morning at the TV press tour for "Idol" in Pasadena: Don’t expect her to push for more rap on the show.

“This is definitely not a rap competition, and when I got involved with ['Idol'], I specifically said I hope they didn’t try to do that because I was on the show,” she said. “America loves that it's an honest singing competition and I’m not here to change that, I’m here to judge.

“I definitely don’t think a rapper should be in this competition. Rap and hip-hop is completely different from ‘American Idol.’ I started off in the streets, selling mixtapes out of my car. It’s a different situation.

“The hip-hop community wants you to be credible. With singing, people don’t really necessarily care what you’ve gone through. If it’s a great song, they are going to love it, 'cause its going to touch them or inspire them. But with rap, it's different. I would never go on a show like this as a rapper. I wouldn’t encourage anyone else as a rapper to come on. I don’t think it's authentic. If you’re really looking for people to see you as an authentic rapper, you wouldn’t do it.”

Gerrick Kennedy

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