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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 12

Nicki Minaj storms off 'American Idol' set pissed off at Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/24/2013 

Nicki Minaj stormed off the American Idol set in anger during Wednesday night's show after a battle broke out amongst the judging panel over whether a contestant should solely stick to singing country music. 

The incident began when Summer Cunningham, a 20-year-old student from Warner Robins, GA, stepped in front of judges Minaj, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, and Randy Jackson for her Idol audition and performed "Lean On Me" with a subtle country twang and "yodel" in her voice.

Urban then asked Cunningham how she saw herself as a singer.

"I don't know, I did the country thing. I'm more of a soulful country, maybe, is kind of what I have been doing," Cunningham replied.

"Right. I always frown when I hear people say, 'I did the country thing.' I'm like, 'Well' -- It's like saying, 'I did the brain surgeon thing.' It's like either you're a brain surgeon or you're not."

Once a confused Cunningham clarified she just normally tries to put some soul behind her country singing, Urban still seemed offended and replied, "Right, okay."

Jackson then told the contestant he could see her doing "the country thing" more than anything else. Carey agreed, asking Cunningham multiple questions about whether she grew up listening to country music and if she was passionate about the genre. Cunningham told the judges she had always listened to a variety of music but decided to sing country once she began pursuing music.

After Cunningham reiterated how she loved country music, Urban questioned, "Why?"

Following a little more discussion, Urban, Jackson and Carey all said they wanted to advance the artist to Hollywood. Throughout the entire conversation, Minaj was sitting in her chair staring at the floor, looking completely bored and annoyed.

It then became time for Minaj to declare whether she wanted to put Cunningham through to the next round.

"Thank you, because for a minute, I thought it was a country music debate. I mean, why are we like picking her apart because of a country comment? You guys make comments about everybody in popular music all day nonstop," Minaj said.

"Who's you guys?!" Urban questioned with surprise.

"Not you Keith, Randy and Mariah," Minaj noted.

"Really?!" Carey said in frustration. "Is that what I do?"

The panel then began bickering and talking over one another in front of Cunningham. For instance, Urban tried to relate to Minaj by asking the rapper how she'd feel if someone said, "Oh well I did the hip-hop thing."

Minaj understood but suggested her fellow judges were basically interrogating the girl about her love or passion for country music when it was unnecessary. Carey explained they were just trying to help Cunningham rather than "just talk about her outfit."

"What we're almost actually doing is like scaring her into lying. She said what she said. She has every right to say that and feel that. You have a great voice [Summer], but then we're forcing her to claim something..." Minaj began.

"We're trying to help her!" Jackson interjected.

"We're kind of like making them change their mind... Watch the tape back and you'll understand," Minaj argued.

Meanwhile, Carey kept repeating, "Really? Is that what you do?"

Urban then interrupted the fighting group and announced Cunningham would be going to Hollywood.

"No matter what Nicki thinks, your voice still fits better in country!" Jackson yelled out as the contestant was exiting the room. "Just trying to help you a little bit! Thirty years [experience], a little help -- insight."

Added Carey, "Yay country!"

At that point, Minaj fired at Carey and Jackson, "Oh you're right. I'm sorry. I can't help her. Maybe I should just get off the f-cking panel! Let me get off the panel."

Minaj then stormed off and walked out of the room.

Jackson hollered at Minaj on her way out -- attempting to still prove his point about country -- and then Carey and Jackson both joked with each other that they were planning on leaving first.

"Finish the show, I'm done!" Minaj yelled.

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