FOX, 8 p.m. ET; March 14, 2013 

In the dozen years of this show’s often tempestuous history, no judge has ever missed the start of a live show. Not until last night, that is, when host Nicki Minaj was absent for the beginning of Wednesday’s live edition of American Idol, represented only by an empty chair nestled between Keith Urban and Randy Jackson. She did show up after the first contestant had sung and been judged, and slipped into her seat during the commercial break – trying to look cool and unobtrusive, but coming off more like a female Unabomber. And later in the same show, another unpredictable judge, Mariah Carey, went on so long with her remarks that the band came in and played over her, like she was an Oscar winner with a too-long acceptance speech. What a crew.

-David Bianculli