Nicki Minaj Says She Answered Call For 'American Idol' Gig As A 'Fan'

'I remember watching 'American Idol' in the first season and feeling inspired,' Minaj says of her new gig.

Nicki Minaj draws inspiration from a wide range of places, but you'd be surprised at what motivated her to make the unexpected jump
 to a hot seat on the upcoming 12th season of "American Idol."

"I remember watching 'American Idol' in the first season and feeling inspired," Minaj said on Monday during a press conference announcing her ascendancy to the panel. "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."

Truth be told, Nicki didn't vote for Sparks — the most recent female to win the competition — but she remembered that her mother liked Jordin and that she and her little brother preferred beatboxing faux-hawker 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, throwing in a little shoulder shimmy. "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."

Nicki also explained why, after a number of offers to join the panels of similar programs in the past, she decided to pick up the phone this time and answers "Idol"'s call. "This is such a credible brand," she said. "It's 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 subtly patterned short-sleeved top for the presser, seriously toning-down her typically Technicolor hair and curve-flaunting look for her debut as a member of the "Idol" family.

Body language experts will have to be consulted, but it was hard to tell if the rumors of already-bubbling tension between her and fellow new judge Mariah Carey are more than just that. Carey has already laughed off the reports of a feud,
 saying, "How are we gonna feud in two days?" during the same visit to the "Idol" set at Lincoln Center on Monday.

"It's fun, it's music, it's singing, it's laughter," she added.

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