Fire Nicki Minaj for American Idol’s low ratings

Fox needs to boot Nicki Minaj off fast before even more viewers abandon Photo: American Idol judge Nicki Minaj / Photo Fox

SAN DIEGO – March 14, 2013 – Singer/rapper Nicki Minaj showed up late Wednesday night to “American Idol,” and nearly walked out on the show Thursday night.

“American Idol’s” ratings are in free fall. It’s no mystery why. Minaj is largely to blame. The Fox network needs to boot her off the show and quick before even more viewers abandon “American Idol” for “The Voice” when it returns on March 25.

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Wednesday night, the first of the live performance shows in Los Angeles started without Minaj in her judge’s chair. Host Ryan Seacrest did his best to cover for Minaj’s tardiness and he’s such a professional he nearly did. When Minaj finally took her seat, she was wearing a black hoodie and huge sunglasses. It looked as if she didn’t have time to have her makeup done and get dressed.

The glasses and the hoodie eventually came off, but Minaj’s bizarre behavior continued with rambling comments to contestants about their appearance and seemingly everything but their singing. If she calls one more of the competitors “Little Ladybug,” Mariah Carey might smack her. You can’t blame her.

Nicki Minaj in da hood: Minaj shows up late wearing a black hoodie and sunglasses for the first live show of the season on American Idol Wednesday. Photo: Fox

When Minaj started a rambling description about making waffles for breakfast, Idol judge Keith Urban made a show of checking Minaj’s Coke cup to see what she was drinking. Thanks Keith, all of America was wondering too.

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To cap off the week, on Thursday night’s results show, Minaj got so upset over competitor Curtis Finch Jr. being up for elimination she got up from the judges’ table, and started walking away, saying “I’m done.” Before Finch’s final performance, Minaj threatened, “If you go home, I’m going home.” The rest of the judges voted to send Finch home, and Minaj howled they didn’t have enough time to deliberate.

“American Idol” has a serious ratings problem and it’s only getting worse thanks to Minaj. Producers need to figure out how to fix the situation. Wednesday night’s show drew 13.1 million viewers on a night up against repeats with the exception of “Survivor: Caramoan,” slightly up from the 12.7 million viewers who watched last week.

Fox is in serious trouble. These are the lowest ratings for its number one show since it came on the air in 2002. Between 2003 and 2008, over 30 million people were watching American idol every week, sometimes way over. The ratings have been sinking ever since, especially the last two years after the arrival of “The X Factor” and “The Voice.” Rating for the final of “The Voice” last December would have beaten “American Idol” this week. Ouch.

“American Idol” hasn’t turned out a real star in several years. Its biggest names are from earlier seasons: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Jordin Sparks, Katherine McPhee, Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson.

The judges are bringing in nice paychecks for a relatively easy gig when compared to performing and touring. Forbes Magazine estimates the total including host Ryan Seacrest at $54 million. Minaj is reportedly making $12 million, Mariah Carey $18 million, and country singer Keith Urban half of that.

American Idol increased the judges’ panel to four people this season. It’s time to dial it back to three again and send Nicki Minaj home. Photo: Michael Becker, Fox

The show has done just fine with four judges. Urban and Carey can cover the perspective of the performers, particularly since they are from different genres. Even though he doesn’t always articulate his thoughts well, Randy Jackson knows what works on the show. With legendary producer Jimmy Iovine giving advice to the competitors from the sidelines, they are in good hands. 

Minaj is too much of a distraction. She has become expendable. First she shows up late Wednesday, which is incredibly rude and disrespectful of the producers, the crew, the audience, the other judges, Ryan Seacrest, and especially the competitors.

I’m not buying the traffic excuse. It’s Los Angeles. Everyone in Southern California knows there is no way should you be cutting it that close. Get to Hollywood early in the afternoon and cool your heels, woman. 

Then we get the little drama queen act Thursday night. Minaj is making the show all about her. I respect her and enjoy her as a performer (no, I really do). Like it or not she’s become a style trendsetter for a lot of girls. But even divas should be professional. 

Minaj is wearing us out fast. She needs to get it together or get out. There’s now a Facebook page for people who want Nicki Minaj off the show. Fox better start paying attention and find someone who can get their bad girl judge back in the good graces of the viewers. 

Otherwise Fox is left with a hot mess on its hands, and come March 25 the audience will abandon “American Idol” in even bigger numbers for “The Voice” and its far superior judging team of Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, joined this season by Shakira and Usher. NBC will relentlessly promote the show in whatever it can to draw viewers to “The Voice” to shore up its terrible ratings.

NBC may be the only ones hoping Nicki Minaj stays on “American Idol.” 

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine and Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +


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Copyright © 2013 by Falcon Valley Group





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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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