Idology: Nicki Minaj Rules, Male Contestants Act the Fool During Season 12 Hollywood Week

Say what you want about Nicki Minaj’s opinion — and sure, sometimes it’s as crazy as her wigs — but unlike so many ineffective American Idol judges of yore, there’s never any doubt about where she stands.

Nicki’s bracing honesty was never more appreciated than during the opening half of Season 12 Hollywood Week, when too many guy contestants milked their sob stories, lobbied for sympathy votes or acted like entitled buffoons in their quest to keep alive the show’s streak of five straight male winners.

On this week’s Idology, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I discuss the merits of the Lady Minaj’s contestant smackdowns, and dish the handful of vocalists who managed to impress during the solo rounds. (If you need hints, a couple of their names rhyme with Sick Rotting Bun, Shimmy Myth and Four-Fez Flaw.)

So press play below for the complete Idology experience, and for all my Idol news, interviews, photo galleries and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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70 Comments
  1. EVPandHC says:

    Katelyn Epperly! <3

    I agree with most of the assessments. However, I think Jimmy and Devin don't necessarily need the mentions. They sounded fine, but I wasn't wowed by them.

  2. sg54 says:

    I completely agree on Nikki, but I just hope she stays that way into live rounds, since I recall JLo being tough in the beginning as well, and we all know what that turned into…
    And thank you for bringing up Nick! So afraid you wouldn’t for a second since Melinda didn’t. He was the best of the night for me. And I can easily see a top 10 boys as Nick, Cortez, Gurpreet, Charlie, Jimmy, Paul, Lazaro, Devin, Burnell, and Adam. I have no idea how it’ll break down from there, though.

  3. Emma says:

    Hahah, I love your Haley Reinhart shout-outs Michael, always puts a huge smile on my face <3

  4. TMW says:

    First time watching this in a while and found it most enjoyable. YES, Michael and Melissa on Nikki-she’s a bucket full of cray cray but she is the most concisely critical judge this show has ever seen. And she exposes Mariah Carey for the complete and utter inarticulate dummy she is.

  5. zaza says:

    I’m still upset about Nate getting eliminated. He was the only one I felt I could really root for whole-heartedly. Nick has a good voice, but I can’t look at him (his face is too feminine) and Jimmy reminds me too much of the surfer dudes I went to school with (can’t take him seriously). Curtis Finch Jr….ugh, what a d-bag. I liked Charlie’s voice and didn’t mind his weirdness up until he called Nicki Minaj “baby.” Yuck. Gupreet has a good voice, but I fear that, like Heejun of last season, he might have too much sense of humor for his own good. The rest I can not comment on as they were not memorable enough for me.

    I hope Nate comes back next year or tries out for The Voice, where he might actually be appreciated.

  6. Mari says:

    Nicki Minaj is the best thing to happen to Idol since a long time.

  7. Jack Schwartz says:

    Why is no one talking about how Mattheus is a liar?! He was on the Glee Project which means he has sung by himself with a band before, which he keeps claiming he hasn’t!

    • dan says:

      I’m thinking the producers told him not to talk about that. I found it annoying that they danced around it. I also loved that Nicki called him out on the pity party.

    • Joe says:

      The guy lied. Whether or not there was a live band on stage when he sang all those times for Ryan Murphy, he pretended he just sings in his car & the shower. Meanwhile on TGP he was in recording studios working with professionals. I was glad he didn’t make it because I felt the same way on TGP. If he wins, it’s because of his height and not his talent. Nicki did him a huge favor by calling him out on that and I love her for it. It’s about time some of these people who go to the sob stories to get them past more talented people learn that pity shouldn’t equal career success. There are plenty of severely talented people with health/life issues who make it. Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Boccelli, etc. Talent gets you there. Not back story.

  8. Teeny Bikini says:

    I feel like Nigel is trying to dissuade voters from voting for a dude. I don’t think it’s gonna work – some of these dudes are pretty darn good. And if they deserve to win, then let them. I am just happy that we have some really good judges now. Love Nikki. I even love Keith. I am watching. I don’t care who wins. I just don’t like when their is obvious favoritism in the judging. Go Nikki go!

  9. Lauren says:

    I wish this was an article with words. I have dial-up here in 1993.

  10. Vetle says:

    Charles Allen mention. YES.

  11. IDOLOGYFAN says:

    11 AND A HALF MINUTES? HELL YES!!!!

  12. Gale says:

    i think the best is yet to come for the AI guys, namely David Willis.

  13. jenna says:

    i also love keith and his jokes

  14. Timmah says:

    Great stuff as always.

  15. At least Nicki knows what songs people probably shouldn’t be singing; Papa Peaches singing Gaga was so wrong and Nicki knew it immediately.

  16. jenna says:

    i am wondering what would have happen to shabon (magnus? i’m prob butchering her name…) or even adam lambert with nicki minaj as a judge…simon was so conservative but the real artists with longevity are hardly ever that conservative. i’m starting to think that the new attitude might yield some interesting stuff on the show and afterwards.

  17. omar says:

    I started watching IDOL againg thanks to Nicki. When the season started, she was the funniest judge but now she’s so serious and right. The worst judge is Randy, I cant stand him! She’s a diva!

  18. Kim R says:

    To quote my brother-in-law….people have to stop singing like they’re being paid by the note. :) Too many runs!!!

  19. Nicole says:

    Even though he has a rather odd look, Nick Boddington had the best performance of Hollywood Week by a clear mile with “Stars.” Looks like Amanda Brown started a solid Grace Potter trend on singing shows.

  20. MB says:

    I did a little research and there are a couple of guys that are suppose to be pretty good that we haven’t seen yet or have seen very little of who will be in top 20 guys. So far my favorite is Nick but it will be interesting in the weeks to come what talent may be hidden away. Wednesday night I felt the guys really sucked but my mind was changed Thursday night and hopefully it will not just be a slaughter from the girls and it will be a real competition.

  21. Dan says:

    No Amanda Brown mention? Expected there would be on because of Nick’s cover of Stars?

  22. PLEASE! Get rid of American Idol. Shoot it in the head. Put it out of our misery.

  23. libby says:

    Could I get a guy with a guitar please ? ;)

  24. megs says:

    Yes for Nick Boddington! I Would go buy his cover of ‘Stars’ right now! AND he plays piano? A++ for Nick! I liked the kid who sang ‘What a Wonderful World’ too- I agree with Michael about the runs to a point, but this is American Idol, where the motto is “if ya got it, flaunt it”. It’s like when Nigel tells the dancers auditioning on SYTYCD to do all their best tricks- he probably gives similar advice on Idol.
    And yay for the Haley Reinhart reference! I had the same thought when Papa Peachez started singing that song.
    ***Spoiler Alert(a minor one)***
    I heard that at least a couple of girls sang ‘Undone’ during Hollywood week. Curious to see if Haley gets any shout outs on the show.

    • Emma says:

      Really??? That’s awesome!!! Undone is one of my favorite songs on Listen Up! I hope they do a good job with it, hahah. 2 years ago Haley was just starting her own idol journey and now contestants are performing her songs… that’s so cool.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      Interesting about the Undone stuff. I’ll have to watch it this week.

  25. Inday says:

    nicki minaj is a brat who is insecure and worried that someday one of these kids is going to sell more records than her. she is rude, impolite and is a poor example to kids. rolling her eyes and interrupting other judges. she has made many of my friends stop watching Idol altogether.

  26. James A says:

    Its a shame Nate and the resident Baker (forget his name) are gone. But there are still a few diamonds in the rough such as Nick and Jolly. Personally I hope a female wins though this year…

  27. Natalie says:

    Some thing about Nate just made me sit up and smile. I felt he was one of the guys that I was really eager to see reach top ten. I refuse to acknowledge that the judges let him go, I just won’t think about it until i am forced too. I love Charlie too, he has something special going on and I am hoping he will stay in the competition. The other guys were good, but none made me sit up and go”wow, I would rather watch this than any other program” nicki ensured I stayed though, I really enjoy her judging.

  28. Brigette says:

    I can’t believe it, but I agree that I’m liking Nicki’s brutal honesty. I hope she keeps it up! Thanks for the Haley shout out, and I really wanna see The Boat. ;)

  29. Tom22 says:

    The Kids get reality checks auditioning for high school plays.

    No drama teacher I ever had would stand for someone coming up on stage and saying they were nervous. That’s not a failure of skill but a finger in the eye to the whole principal of being a performer. Never Break character. The show must go on. Give the Audience all you got(that doesn’t mean over-acting or oversinging – but being “all-in” get those doey eyes in a soft song, the quiver of the chin etc). Whining to the judges is like a kid not running for a lose ball in sports out of laziness or something…

    If you don’t always put your best face forward its (not necessarily achieve your best performance but go out there with the aura that you are) it is not a failure of skill but an unwillingness to take on the obligations of the profession.

    Be kind (but not advance) kids that just don’t have the ability but yes, chastise any lack of professionalism – they must have learned what is expected from a performer in high school.

  30. Tom22 says:

    I like’d that last line “but she’s smart”. I’m pretty sure that was about Nickii (although Haley is too) and I agree.

    Nikki see’s right through veneers and can make pretty quick assessments. I’m not saying the other judges don’t have the same abilities but that’s a different conversation).

    Nickii had stuck her Neck out for “papa peaches” (for something I didn’t see at all) and had already read him the riot act about bringing back the edge and clearly indicating that she had fought for one last chance for him under that expectation.

    She took one look at the song and knew he had thrown the trust back in his face.

    I don’t think the intensity of the reaction was based on dislike for the song itself.(who knows to what degree that’s true”) but knowing the song, she was utterly convinced that Papa got lazy and had no way to show anything.

    .., any edge to the song has to do with a sort of steamy , darm-the-torpedoes:i’m–going-to- indulge-in-those-yeasty-things-I-long-for… naughty or not.. I think the hook is distinctly about a female rebelling against a stereotypical expectations on both ends of the expectation spectrum (damn my straight-laced aunt, damn the politically correct rad-fems, and.. I read a bit of damn my agent’s pushing me to do a soul killing tour schedule..

    Musically I don’t think the melody/music in the song is terribly ambitious without the emotional range as part of it: the tune does give room for an artful voice to exhibit some range and distinctiveness of tone through a few different nuanced emotions. The nuances disappear with a male singing it, Even without the emotional hooks, I don’t think that his control and tone of his voice that possibility could have still showed without an emotional hook was at all what Nikikii saw in him (although, I wasn’t exactly sure what particularly about his oddity that she considered artistically pleasing).

    Nikki is sharp minded at the very least.. Her mind could race through something of her own maybe like my take and probably far more that I can’t imagine (I don’t know squat beyond being thinking closely about a ‘why” to everything). She knew the song and could immediately “what they hell is he thinking and , he can’t possibly believe in this himself” before he even opened his mouth. In no way does that necessarily say “this is a bad song” bu that it was a horrendous choice for him.

    Afterwords Peaches pretty much owned up not being inspired about anything in it which to me is betrayal of trust she put in him… of course she was pissed, and a quick consideration of possibilities of hers foretold it.

  31. Lois Benton says:

    Michael, What’s going on with Joshua Ledet? While I can’t help myself from being interested in Season 12, a new season only means I must now know what’s going on with the best American Idol ever, Joshua Ledet. Google searches reveal nothing about a Joshua Ledet album, or anything else about him. As an investigative journalist, I do hope you’ll uncover his whereabouts and current status in the music world.

    • deedee says:

      Funny you bring this up now! Just yesterday I visited his twitter page – something I haven’t done in ages – and he posted a picture of himself in the studio recording something. He was cryptic about what exactly he was working on, but looks like at least something is happening for him. Such a shame he wasn’t picked up immediately after his season ended. :(

      • Lois Benton says:

        Thanks for the info and I’ll have to check twitter. I had been under the impression that Joshua was doing an album, and the song he debuted last summer was so wonderful that I have been waiting impatiently for the release of the recording. Dagnabbit. I know American Idol is just about the TV show and not much about the music, but I thought Jimmy Iovine was going to work with Joshua. Sad face indeed.

        • deedee says:

          Yup, Jimmy convinced me that he was cutting an album with Joshua no matter what. Not sure what went wrong, considering Josh was given a chance to record a song and showcase it on “IHeartRadio” along with the 3 other contestants from season 11 who were signed. Seems like the original plan was, indeed, to sign him, and then it all fell apart.

  32. darcy's evil twin says:

    Great Idology as usual, Mr. Slezak and Melinda!
    I hope Nicki’s and Keith’s honesty continue through the live rounds. Nicki has been a breath of fresh air and despite her misstep on Papa Peachez I am totally enjoying her as a judge.
    I sure hope some of the folks here are right and there are some good guys we haven’t seen yet.

    • Name That Tune says:

      Well, there are a few who are in the top 20 guys that we have seen very little of. There are still 8 guys to cut. My guess is we see more of them in that final cut.

  33. Karen says:

    How come YouTube has banned all the Idology videos?! Cannot find them anywhere

  34. bornflip says:

    9:30 *priceless reaction* me thinks melinda puts so much credibility to this video-cast.

  35. Teena says:

    I get that the group round is necessary. Not just for good TV, but that it shows a lot about the contestants. Do you work well with others? Can you read music? Do you know music? Can you handle the brutal pace of AI? Can you pull a rabbit out of a sleepless night’s hat? I suppose that if a contestant is going to break under any of that, it is best to know it now. Having said that, I thought that some of the pairings put contestants at a distinct disadvantage.

    • Name That Tune says:

      No it’s really just a cattle call. Let’s put 4 people together & compare them side by side. It’s a producer’s tool, & it’s meant to reduce the number of contestants quickly. And they chose the members of each group with specific ideas in mind. Some groupings were meant to create drama. Some were meant to separate 2 closely talented but similar artists. For example Elijah Liu & Nate Teo were grouped together. Elijah was a hair better than Elijah. He was nowhere near as good as Cortez Shaw who was also in his group.

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