On Thursday night, the 43 remaining American Idol male contestants put their dreams, not to mention more than a few "Jar of Hearts" renditions, on the line –all in hopes of advancing to the Top 20. It's a stressful week, to be sure, and Nicki Minaj demonstrated that it wasn't just the contestants who were coming apart at the seams during Hollywood Week.
The stress had obviously pushed American Idol judge Ms. Minaj to the brink, and less-than-stellar performances from some of the boys proved to be the last straw – forcing Nicki to release her pent-up frustration with harsh critiques.
Sheesh guys, it's not all about YOU, you know. Did you even stop for one moment between cramming lyrics into your head, learning choreography, and enduring grueling pressure and criticism to consider how hard this is for Minaj? For crying out loud, she's doing this for you, after all. Well, you and a reported $15 million, but still, mostly for you. Have some consideration.
Minaj's first victim of the night, contestant Paul Jolley, understandably struggled with some pre-performance jitters, but his jitters didn't seem to detract from his impressive vocals. In fact, if Mr. Jolley keeps doing better than his solo performance, he could definitely be one to watch in this competition. But after tonight's performance, Minaj, looking like a deranged train conductor, was disgusted. She lambasted Jolley for not being composed, stating that all she was looking for was one minute of professionalism and he couldn't give it to her. Poor Minaj was forced to reduce Jolley to tears.
Later, when Matheus Fernandes, the vertically-challenged contestant, gave an earnest soliloquy about how grateful he was to be able to perform for them since so many people had laughed at his aspirations because of his height, Minaj stared him down as if he was gum on the bottom of her shoe. After he demonstrated his lack of experience performing with a live band and gave a dreadful rendition of Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger," Minaj skewered Mr. Fernandes for bringing up his height again, suggesting that he was throwing himself a pity party and milking it. And while eviscerating Fernandes, Minaj also managed to seamlessly insert a delightfully passive-aggressive comment – eliciting a well-deserved eye roll from Mariah Carey – about not being given the chance to give Fernandes feedback during his last performance, presumably because the other judges talked over Minaj, who is known to have issues with self-confidence and making herself heard. What?!
Well, Minaj couldn't very well let Fernandes have a pity party all for himself.
Vigilante Minaj didn't stop there; she moved on to her once golden peach, Papa Peachez, whom she scolded on Wednesday night for becoming too complacent. When Mr. Peachez began to sing Lady Gaga's, "You and I," Minaj snarled at innocent bystander, Keith Urban, asking why he chose that song. Poor Mr. Urban played possum until her wrath was directed back at the stage. When Peachez finished his performance, Minaj told him that she was disappointed in him and that he had allowed himself to be swallowed by the competition. "That flame is completely burnt out," she stated dismissively.
For both Peachez and Fernandes, Minaj's wrath was the final blow to their dreams: Both were eliminated from the competition. Thankfully, Jolley managed to make the cut, guaranteeing that he'll get to perform for Minaj again. He must really be looking forward to it.
But as harsh as she was, Minaj's passion was a welcome departure from the timid, tongue-in-cheek "feedback" given by Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler in the last two seasons. And it would be doing Minaj a disservice to suggest that she was a tyrant with all the contestants. Cortez Shaw, who had personally offended Minaj with his performance of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" earlier this week, seemed to have earned his way back into her good graces, eliciting a smile from Minaj during his solo performance.
Charlie Askew, who dedicated his performance of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" to an ex-girlfriend, earned more than a smile from Minaj. She was so delighted with Mr. Askew's oddness and quirkiness that she declared she's obsessed with him. He coolly replied that he could say the same to her. As he left the stage, Minaj was still beaming, declaring that she wanted to eat Askew.
So much for one minute of professionalism.
Next week, the girls get their chance at fame and glory (or heartbreak and disillusionment) and an additional eight boys are sent packing. Tell us what you thought about Minaj this week in the comments below: Was she keeping it real or crossing the line?