12:10 pm EST, January 18, 2013

‘American Idol’ highlights: The ‘Susan Boyle moment,’ Nikki and Mariah fight, and a so-called rock star

Confession time: As I shamelessly wrote on Facebook last night, Nikki Minaj is a star at the judges table on American Idol. As much as I thought she would be a train wreck, she actually is wildly entertaining.

More on that in a minute. Here are some highlights from last night’s American Idol audition round which took place in Chicago, Illinois.

The “Susan Boyle moment”

Leading up to tonight’s episode, American Idol execs were calling a performance by contestant Lazaro Arbos their “Susan Boyle moment.” That means we were to expect an uplifting and inspiring story. While it didn’t move us as much as when Boyle performed “I Dreamed A Dream” on Britain’s Got Talent (and set the gears in motion for what became the Les Miserables movie), Arbos’ audition was a unique one. The young man has suffered a speech impediment since he was six years old that no amount of therapy can cure. The one thing that does let him speak normally? Singing.

Nikki Minaj hits on Johnny Keyser, fights with Mariah

As mentioned above, Minaj is really fun on Idol. She’s loose, she’s unique, she’s funny. She even brings original commentary. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy her so much, but she’s my current favorite on the panel right now. And Randy Jackson seems to be tinkled pink by her jokes. During this audition Minaj and Mariah Carey get into a bit of a fight. Unfortunately you don’t see the part of the audition where Minaj was hitting on Keyser, but you’ll get the gist.

The rock star with cookies

It was a bad sign when Gabe Brown said he’d been “making noises” since he was a wee baby. And once he starts singing, we know that the way he “makes noises” hasn’t changed a bit. Not even the cookies he gifted to the judges could save this performance. The judges offer him a second chance with a different song, but it doesn’t improve his chances of going to Hollywood.

How do you think incoming judges Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and Mariah Carey are doing on the show so far? We’ll be able to make a final decision about once the live shows begin in a couple months.

Bonus: Highlight reel of Nicki Minaj hitting on performers

This is part of her charm on the show…

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