American Idol judge Nicki Minaj turned up late for the show's live episode, missing the first contestant's performance. The show opened with just Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson sitting at the judge's table. Nicki gave some warning beforehand, tweeting "Stuck in traffic *sighs*". With one judge down, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest ironically opened with, "We are coming to you live and on time."
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Ryan got the audience cheering and told them to "keep that energy going for three of your four judges who are here tonight." "I hear she's seven minutes out and there's some congestion on the 405," continued Ryan. "She should be here momentarily." Nicki arrived thirteen minutes late dressed in a black hood and dark sunglasses. She joined the rest of the panel on stage and critiqued the second contestant's performance, without mentioning her lateness. But Nicki was reportedly not as tardy as viewers at home would have seen. First contestant Curtis Finch Jr. vouched for the judge saying Nicki did actually catch the end of his rendition, but from backstage where she was having her make-up done. She gave him some off-air feedback when he came off stage, saying, "Good job, today."
Out of the whole panel, Nicki seems to be the one judge with a time-keeping problem. "It's not the first time and probably not the last," said contestant Paul Jolley with a laugh, explaining Nicki's lateness. "But I'm okay with it," he said. "I love Nicki."Another contestant Devin Velez came up with a solution, joking, "Maybe we could get her a helicopter. Or some tennis shoes, so she can run!"