Nicki Minaj was late to the first live taping of "American Idol" this season, arriving to her seat next to the other judges a full 13 minutes late Wednesday. The hip-hop diva complained that Los Angeles traffic was the reason she missed the first contestant, Curtis Finch, Jr. and his performance.
Nicki Minaj's lateness to the "American Idol" top 10 taping was very apparent when the show first began. Longtime host Ryan Seacrest even drew attention to the rapper's lateness, joking with the judges.
"We are coming to you live and on time," Seacrest started at the beginning of the show. "Say hello to three of your four judges who have made it here on time."
"Which one of you gave Nicki the wrong directions today? Which one of you drained the fuel from her car?" he laughed.
After, through, he explained to the audience where Minaj was, and why she was late.
"So this is where Nicki [is] … I hear she is seven minutes out and there is some congestion on the 405 [Freeway], she should be here momentarily," he said. The rapper confirmed it with a tweet: "Stuck in traffic, sighs," she wrote.
The show went on as planned, with Curtis Finch, Jr., a Christian gospel singer, belting out "I Believe" by Fantasia, another previous "Idol" contestant and winner. Although the three judges on stage gave him mixed reviews, Finch later said that Minaj had gotten to hear him sing after all.
"During the performance, she was backstage. … and she was like, 'Good job today," Finch told E! News. "To see her backstage was comforting."
After Finch's performance, Minaj took her place at the judge's table with her black hoody on her head. Despite the night's earlier jests, neither Seacrest nor any of the judges mentioned her lateness for the rest of the show.