Nicki Minaj Talks Nicknames + ‘American Idol’ Feuds and Performs on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’
Nicki Minaj took over ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ last night (Jan. 25), not in the Matt Damon way, but in the simultaneous musical guest and major interview guest way. Not only was the Harajuku Barbie supremely entertaining, but she also revealed just how the ‘American Idol‘ panel works together.
Hint: She doesn’t think Mariah Carey is a big fan of hers.
One thing we noticed? Minaj is fond of air kisses — she didn’t actually touch Kimmel’s face, nor her own hand when she blew kisses to her Barbz in the audience when she was introduced. Gotta keep that hot pink lipstick on point! Kimmel actually called her out on it, too.
“What’s with the air kiss you gave me when you came out here?” he asked, jokingly indignant. “You don’t kiss people?!”
Minaj, wearing a skintight, wild printed Robert Cavalli suit, replied, “Well, no, not if I have makeup on.” We called it! And it’s pretty understandable that she wouldn’t want to smudge her warpaint on anyone else, right?
Kimmel praised her ‘Idol’ judging, admitting, “I didn’t know what to expect. It seems a little contrary to your public persona, but you give solid advice that’s reasonable.”
Minaj side eyed him for the accidentally backhanded comment. “So I don’t seem solid and reasonable otherwise?” she giggled. Kimmel brought up Summer Cunningham’s audition, in which Randy Jackson, Keith Urban and Carey urged the hopeful to go toward country music and Minaj dissented, since Cunningham had said that she wanted to move beyond the genre. The result? Minaj storming off the set after Jackson and Carey condescended her with their critiques. “You’re forcing her to lie,” Kimmel said of the ‘Idol’ judges urging Cunningham to go country.
“Right,” Minaj said, visibly disgusted. “Ridiculous. I was like, ‘What are we doing?’ The girl said, ‘I did the country thing and now I want to try something else.’ That’s basically what she was trying to say,” Minaj explained. “She didn’t want us to tell her off the bat what we think she should do, you know? And he [Keith] got upset because she put ‘thing’ at the end of country. And I told Keith. I said, ‘You know, I get it,’” she continued. “But I just felt like Randy and Mariah were like, almost forcing her to say, ‘I’m sorry, you know what? I want to be a country singer.’ And you know what? If you don’t want to be a country singer — I mean, granted, she wasn’t that savvy. She said something that maybe she shouldn’t have said, but she doesn’t want to be a country star. So why would you force that just because you hear that that way?”
Kimmel quipped, “And then you stormed off the set,” to which Minaj replied, almost proudly, “Yes I did.”
Next, Minaj pretty much came out and admitted that she doesn’t like at least one person she works with. “A lot of people dislike their coworkers,” Kimmel began, to which Minaj replied, “Exactly!” Kimmel added, ” … Clearly you and Mariah Carey don’t like each other.”
“I wouldn’t say I don’t like her,” Minaj said, somewhat unconvincingly. “I don’t think she likes me.” Kimmel, stirring the pot, told Minaj, “I would agree with that assessment … maybe you try a little harder to like her.”
“I do try,” Minaj said, “because I looked up to her fora long time, so I don’t want to be hating this lady. But she just ha an issue from the beginning. We’re having fun though,” she clarified. “Those were the beginning episodes. But really now when I go to work on ‘Idol,’ I’m having fun … I really genuinely enjoy going there,” she assured. “I like the people behind the scenes, I like the producers, we have a lot of fun. Even with Mariah and I, we do have fun.”
“In a fist fight, who would win? You or Mariah Carey?” Kimmel prodded. “If it came down to a physical confrontation.”
“I don’t fight with fists,” Minaj said, smiling slyly. “I use whatever weapon is handy. But don’t tell anybody I said that, or there’ll be another Barbara Walters interview.” Oooh, burn! She quickly added, in her British accent, “No, no, no fighting. I don’t condone violence, Barbz.” Still, Kimmel insisted when it came down to it that Minaj would “beat her with a shoe,” and the ‘Pink Friday’ rapper couldn’t resist laughing.
Kimmel then asked Minaj about her recent trip to Dubai, which she revealed was actually pretty problematic. “I almost got in so much trouble, because the guys in Dubai are so cute,” she said. “And it’s one of the rules, you can’t hug a man there if you’re not married to the man. And there was one guy there who was just so cute, and I was just like, ‘Bye!’ I wanted to have one last moment, to savor the moment with him,” she explained. “But I didn’t know he was a cop!” she cried. She explained that he was wearing regular garments, not a police uniform, which is what threw her off. “But I wanted to give him a hug, and I feel like time froze. Like, every single person turned around in slow motion and was like, ‘Nooooooooo!’ And everyone in my team thought I was about to be put in jail! It was the scariest thing,” she gushed. “He kinda put his arms up a little bit and cracked a little nervous smile, but I was just like, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry!’ and left.”
Next, Kimmel asked Minaj what a “CF” is since she referenced them recently in a tweet to her beloved Barbz that said she didn’t want to see any at the show. “It’s a code,” Minaj said sheepishly, “and if I told you the Barbz would kill me.” She explained, “I have like, 16 million followers on Twitter, and if I spoke in like, common language, the whole world would understand me. And I don’t want the whole world to understand me. I like when my Barbz and I, we have our own code language, and ‘CF’ is something that we use to describe — I can’t tell you what it actually stands for … it has to do with people who wouldn’t necessarily know my old stuff,” she explained. “Like the people that only know like, ‘Starships.’”
Kimmel also had Minaj explain why she calls her fans Barbz. “They’re so cute, and they’re so pretty!” Kimmel then asked Minaj about the nicknames she gives to contestants on ‘American Idol’ and in real life.
“I’ve been doing since it I was five years old. I gave my mother her nickname! I used to call her ‘Meekaw,’ and it was some made up language. I don’t know where it came from,” she smiled. “I was just like, ‘Can I call you Meekaw? And she’d be like, ‘… yes’ or ‘ … no.’”
Still, not everyone likes the monikers Minaj gives them, so she always asks permission before officially calling someone their nick(i)name. “On tour, one of my beautiful fans — I don’t know what she said to me, but it made me think of something, and I just called her Tennis Balls. And I felt bad just because it had the word ‘balls’ in it, and I saw it in her face that she was kind of beat up about it, but she wouldn’t say anything,” she said sheepishly. “So I said, ‘You know what, I’ll just call you Tennis Racket.’”
At the end of the show, Minaj performed ‘Va Va Voom’ and ‘Freedom’ off of ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reload: The Re-Up.’ In her performance of ‘Va Va Voom,’ Minaj relied heavily on a backing track, evidenced by her voice being present even when her mouth wasn’t moving and the microphone was nowhere near her face — but she didn’t make any efforts to hide it. It appears the move was mostly just so she could dance around on stage adorably, trading her stiletto booties for Timberlands and a hat.
Minaj relied heavily on her own vocals for ‘Freedom,’ utilizing the backing track for only the parts where her raps overlapped with her sung choruses the way they do in the regular studio version of the song — something totally understandable. It appears near the end of the song, though, that Minaj had either monitor or mic issues, possibly both, and she kept reaching for her earpiece and at times was inaudible. Still, we don’t think we’re going to have Beyonce-levels of lip-syncing controversy here.
Watch Nicki Minaj on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ Part 2
Watch Nicki Minaj on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ Part 3
Watch Nicki Minaj Perform ‘Va Va Voom’ and ‘Freedom’ on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’