As she gears up for her first season, the rapper says she was hesitant about being on a weekly talent competition

By People Staff
January 03, 2013 04:15 PM
Jonathan Leibson/WireImage

Nicki Minaj wasn’t always sure about becoming a judge on American Idol.

Addressing “a judgmental culture in hip-hop,” the rapper recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “Sometimes you are afraid of being too famous because it’s almost, like, is that even cool? Being that accessible, someone you see on TV every week? I never pictured myself as that type of person. I’m still surprised that I decided to do it.”

Equally shocked at her own decision to join the show is Minaj’s one-time rival Mariah Carey.

“I was on the fence about the whole thing,” Carey says. “I got approached by all the shows. [My husband Nick Cannon] said I should do it because it’s the top. It’s the cream of the crop. And I felt like, ‘Do the show that’s produced massive stars who have had major careers.’ ”

Adds Carey, “I know everyone’s like, ‘We can’t have schmaltzy answers.’ Well guess what? Some people still want to be inspired. Some people need to have that kind of validation and to feel like, if this person did it, then I can. And I do have one of those stories.”

Their hesitation about joining the show isn’t the only thing they have in common. Apparently, both judges are rocking some skimpy attire.

When asked if she has to tone down her look to fit the Idol mold, Minaj – who was caught screaming at Carey on camera in October – said simply, “I could think of at least one other person [who] shows more cleavage and skin than me.”

From left: Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson
Michael Becker/FOX