By now, you already know thatNicki Minaj was late, but you don’t know why.
Neither do those of us who were sitting in the studio when Curtis Finch, Jr.hit the stage to sing the night’s first song. The jury is still out on the real reason for the mishap, but in the meantime, here’s 10 things the cameras didn’t catch.
1. Don’t trust the audience. It turns out that those of us in the studio are prompted to stand after every performance. Before the show, it’s made very clear that this is not optional. So, if you want to know who really earned a standing ovation, watch the judges, not the crowd.
2. Nicki does her own makeup. She spoke to no one for the first few moments after she arrived, and instead pulled out a mirror and compact to touch up her face. This was quite a contrast from the glam squad surrounding Mariah Careyduring each and every break.
3. Nicki had an attitude. Although she was cool, calm, and collected when she gave her first critique, off-camera it looked like a different story. Host, Ryan Seacrest was the first to speak to the tardy rapper once she arrived during the first commercial break. Clad in a hoodie and shades, she seemed to be making a point. What that point was, we’re still not sure.
4. Side conversations. Ryan seemed to be consoling the seemingly irritated superstar, and none of her fellow judges greeted her when she made it to the panel. Instead, a quick conversation with Ryan was followed by a longer exchange with a flustered-looking Nigel Lythgoe. He came to ask her a question, and she repeatedly shook her head, “No.”
5. Nicki saw Curtis sing. None of the contestants knew where she was either. After the show, Curtis revealed he was worried when he didn’t see her before the show. “I was like, ‘Where’s Nicki? I need you NOW!’“ he says. “But, when I got off stage she was right there and she said, ‘Good job.’”
6. Kree was battling a bad eye. “You wouldn’t know it from her stellar rendition of Roy Orbison‘s, “Cryin’,” but Kree Harrison couldn’t stop tearing up after the show. This time, it wasn’t the emotional night, but an irritation that caused one eye to pour profusely. “My eye is to’ up!” she said before heading down the press line.
7. The competitors are friends. The cast seems to share a genuine bond, chatting with each other over sandwiches and cupcakes between post-show interviews. Lazaro Arbos took time to gush about his Idol BFF, Amber Holcomb. “I love Amber. She and I have become very close,” he says. “I thought her performance was incredible.”
8. Candice is feared… and revered. Candice’s show-stopping performance earned the first real standing ovation of the night and it was well deserved. A few of her castmates were as blown away as the judges. “Everyone was amazing tonight, but Candice?” admitted Amber. “Once the drums kicked in at the beginning and she was like… wow.”
9. Mariah rolls deep. While all of the judges have security in place, Mimi’s crew is super serious. She’s always got a couple of big-boned bodyguards standing behind her seat at the judges’ table. When the show wrapped, it seemed like the whole studio had to wait for her to exit before they could leave.
10. The kids love Ms. Minaj. More than one contestant called Nicki their favorite judge, including Amber Holcomb. “She used to intimidate me,” she admits. “But now that she’s been showing me love, we’re good. “ Like the others, Amber was confused when she saw the empty seat. “Everybody was looking for her,” she said. “I thought she was gonna come in on a platform or something.”
Kree loves her too, saying, “Whatever she says is unpredictable, so I just go with it and it’s always hilarious.” As for her confusing “waffle” comment? “I knew what she meant, but this time she called me ‘Harry’ instead of her wife.”
Where’s Nicki? Watch below.
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