"American Idol" is deep into season 12, and with only eight contestants left, the May season finale is fast approaching. Not only does that mean "AI" will soon have a winner, but also that newbie judge Nicki Minaj will have to decide whether she wants to return for another season.
Could she make it lucky #13? On Monday (March 25), Minaj was asked the question during an "Idol" conference call with reporters. If she plans to stick around, though, Nicki certainly wasn't saying.
"Would I come back next season? I think people would rather be surprised," the rapper said. "I like to save the mystery and the drama. I'd never give that away. I always say this and I mean it from the bottom of my heart, just that people behind the scenes at 'Idol' have been a dream to work with. I'm just super grateful to have been given the opportunity."
When pressed further about a possible return to the judges' table, where she currently sits alongside fellow newbies Mariah Carey and Keith Urban and "AI" vet Randy Jackson, Minaj continued to plead the Fifth.
"I'd rather not speak about that at this time," she insisted. "I feel like I've kind of already answered it, but I would rather not even give any insight because I kind of feel like it's exciting for people to not know who the next season's judges will be," Nicki noted. That means fans will just have to keep guessing about whether "Idol" will be a long-term gig or a layover between albums for the Young Money rapper.
For now, Nicki was more focused on the experience of appearing on the hit Fox series. According to the Queens MC, it has been nothing like she expected. While she's used to making headlines of her own, Minaj said she was surprised by just how much news a show like "Idol" generates every week.
"I definitely did not have an idea of what it would be because I had never done anything close to 'American Idol,' " she explained. "I think one of the things I was shocked about was how interested the world is in 'American Idol' and how people, writers, they write about 'Idol' all the time, and I guess I didn't expect that."
One thing writers covering season 12 have picked up on is Nicki's knack for thinking up clever nicknames for the contestants. Asked what she would have called herself if she were one of the "Idol" hopefuls auditioning, Minaj had a Jay-Z-inspired moniker in mind: "Young Hov." "I don't want to explain it," she responded when a not-so-hip-hop-savvy reporter asked what the name meant. "It's either you understand it or you don't. And if you don't understand, it makes it even weirder."