Ever since the news broke that Nicki Minaj would be joining the American Idol judges, we knew that she would be the most unpredictable. But with influential judges like Keith Urban and Mariah Carey also joining the judges panel, no one could have foreseen her being the judge most feared by contestants.

 

With the show moving out of the audition phase and into the top 10 though, all the contestants seems to have their own side eyes nervously focused on the judge who has become infamous for shooting side eyes at her fellow judges.

For superfans of the show, this is a welcome development. The critical void left by Simon Cowell was never truly filled by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler or Kara Dioguardi. But, if the audition rounds have been any kind of indicator, Minaj may be more than capable of picking up the critical slack.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Country singer Janelle Arthur said despite being the judge's beloved “Marshmallow,” she doesn’t consider herself as a shoo-in to advance. “Even though I know Nicki loves me, I always know that she’s looking for that certain thing that makes her love me. So when she doesn’t see it, I know she’s going to bring it up and she’s going to say, ‘What happened? I didn’t see what I wanted to see,’” said Arthur. “She’s also so unpredictable. I never know what she’s going to do. So, yeah, I’m probably most apprehensive about her.”

“She’s always so honest — but it’s so necessary,” Burnell Taylor also commented. “I can always count on her when it comes to honesty.” 

Hopefully, Minaj can uphold this reputation because American Idol works when judges are feared rather than loved.