Los Angeles traffic kept the pop star from her judge's seat on the show Wednesday

By Patrick Gomez
Updated March 13, 2013 08:40 PM
Credit: Jonathan Leibson/WireImage

Better late than never!

When American Idol‘s live performance episode started at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, Nicki Minaj was nowhere to be seen.

“We are coming to you live and on time,” host Ryan Seacrest said, before asking the crowd which top 10 finalist could win this season. After the cheering subsided, Seacrest added, “Keep that energy going for three of your four judges who are here tonight.”

Keith Urban, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey were all in their seats. But Minaj, it seems, was stuck in traffic.

“I hear she’s seven minutes out and there’s some congestion on the 405,” Seacrest said. “She should be here momentarily.”

After the first singer, Curtis Finch, Jr. – and during the first commercial break – Minaj arrived 13 minutes into the show.

“I love you Nicki!” one audience member yelled as Minaj was getting primped by a makeup artist. She waved at the fan.

Dressed in a black hood and dark sunglasses (not enough makeup, perhaps?), Minaj took her seat and critiqued the second singer of the night, Janelle Arthur, without mentioning her tardiness.

But Minaj’s late arrival wasn’t the biggest diva moment of the night. That honor went to a pair of the top 10 women. (Spoilers ahead!)

Candice Glover may have stole the show with Shirley Bassey’s “I (Who Have Nothing).”

“It would be in everybody’s best interest to never ever perform that song ever again,” Minaj told Glover. “You shouldn’t be able to perform that song ever again on Idol, because you destroyed and annihilated it.”

Jackson agreed: “This was one of the greatest performances on this show,” he said. “That song had everything and it was perfect.”

Added Carey, “Every time you are on stage, it’s mesmerizing. I’m transfixed watching you because a singer of your caliber can do pretty much anything.”

At the end of the two-hour show (Minaj had removed her sunglasses by then), Amber Holcomb provided some competition for Glover, singing Kelly Clarkson‘s “A Moment Like This.”

“That was beautiful,” Urban said. “I love that song for you. I love how effortless you sing.”

Minaj went even further in her praise: “That was the best performance of the night,” she said. “Your voice and your aura remind me of Whitney Houston’s first album.”

And Carey, whose skirt prevented her from giving a deserved standing ovation, said, “You really sounded magnificent. … You have a natural gift and it’s beautiful.”

Who was the biggest diva of the night? Tell us in the comments below.