Ameircan Idol (FOX, Michael Becker)Although last night’s American Idol premiere was down 19% in the 18-49 category, as well as 19% in the total audience figures, the combustible chemistry between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey made it near must-see TV.  Keith Urban’s laid back charm served as a social chaser for the near toxic exchanges between the two singers, and  Randy Jackson is gradually settling into the experienced, slightly mean judge role which Simon Cowell perfected.

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler’s continued massaging of the contestants and refusals to dole out any harsh criticism was downright frustrating, so Minaj’s brutally frank advice to the wannabe singers is refreshing.  “I’ve been told ‘no’ a thousand times,” says Minaj.  “I think that some of the best critique that I’ve gotten was from a good place.  It might not have been ‘Yes, you’re great’ but it was from a good place.  When you tell someone something and they feel that it’s from a good place, they receive it more.  They may not like it, but one day they will think ‘You know, she was right.'”

Click on the media bar to hear Minaj explain how she started her prodigious rap career, a venture that came out from her early frustrations as a fledgling actress:

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So what was your performance last night on American Idol?  Tell us what you think!!  Mine, by a mile, was New Jersey girl (and blueberry farm worker) Sarah Restuccio, a country singer who performed the Carrie Underwood track “Mama’s Song” and impressed Minaj with her rendition of “Super Bass.”  It was a stunning performance from Restuccio, and as Keith Urban remarked, “It’s like an iPod shuffle, you never know what’s happening.”

Another American Idol installment airs tonight on FOX (8 pm et/pt).

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Posted by @GregSrisavasdi