There are certain situations where being "fashionably late" isn't a good idea -- and that includes live television and American Idol. But on the Wednesday, March 13 episode of the FOX series, judge Nicki Minaj did just that, creeping in 13 minutes into the broadcast. Host Ryan Seacrest opened the show, explaining (dubiously) that the rapper's tardiness was caused by "some congestion on the 405. She should be here momentarily."
When she the "Super Bass" rapper did arrive, she was escorted to the judges' table, where a smiling Seacrest had some private words with her and fellow judge Keith Urban made a few quips; Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey appeared more miffed by the incident and ignored her. Minaj was noticeably dressed down for the night as well: Wearing simply a dark hoodie sweatshirt, with the hood pulled up while she gave her critiques.
After the eventful night of performances, the remaining contestants sounded off to Us Weekly about Minaj's tardy-for-the-party antics. "I'm not sure what happened," Burnell Taylor mused. "But I feel like we're all going to be late at some point in our lives, you know, I'm not gonna judge her."
Devin Velez was a little more skeptical: "You know, there was traffic," he told Us knowingly. "So um, there was nothing, you know, that she could do about it," he added, clearing his throat for effect. "I'm glad that she got there for my performance."
"Oh wow!" an incredulous Amber Holcomb told Us. "Everybody was looking for her [before the show] Everybody was like where's Nicki, where's Nicki?! I thought she was going to come in on some kind of platform or in some kind of fog or smoke or something. I thought she was going to have a grand entrance!"
"I had faith that she would get there," Kree Harrison said diplomatically. "LA traffic is bad! I'm not gonna say the other word, but it's bad!
As the first singer of the night, Curtis Finch Jr. sang (season three winner Fantasia's classic Idol song "I Believe") before Minaj managed to arrive. "Nicki wasn't there! I was like 'Where are you Nicki I need you NOW NOW NOW!' I always look forward to what she's going to say, so I feel that there was a missing piece of the puzzle."
But the latecomer Minaj was waiting for Finch Jr. backstage. "When I got done singing, she was standing right there," he told Us. "She was like 'Good job,' so I felt like she was still there for me. These judges are amazing and they give passionate feedback after you sing."
This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Nicki Minaj Arrives Late for American Idol: Contestants React