When it comes to American Idol, even the judges are judged. But in an effort to quiet the rising Idol chatter and talk of “racist comments,” Steven Tyler has apologized for calling out Nicki Minaj and the current crop of AI judges.

As the frontman for Aerosmith, Tyler collaborated with Run-DMC in 1986 for “Walk This Way,” a classic mashup of rock and rap. With his apology, he seemed determined to defend himself against Minaj’s claim that racism was at the heart of his critique.

“I apologize if it was taken wrong, Nicki,” Tyler told Canada’s eTalk. “I’m the last thing on this planet as far as being a racist. I don’t know where she got that out of me saying, ‘I’m not sure how she would have judged Bob Dylan.’ I was just saying that if Bob Dylan came on the show, he would’ve been thrown off.”

Earlier this week, Tyler started the war of words when he passed judgement on the conflicts taking place behind the scenes, which he called a distraction to the talent and mission of the show. As a former judge on the show, Tyler singled out Minaj when he was asked his opinion about the upcoming season.

“You just have to give your opinion. It wasn’t hard for me, but I would imagine it’s hard for some people, and they need a manager to say ‘Shut the f*** up, and just give them your opinion,” Tyler told MTV News. “If it was Bob Dylan, Nicki Minaj would have had him sent to the cornfield! Whereas, if it was Bob Dylan with us, we would have brought the best of him out, as we did with Phillip Phillips. Just saying.”

Minaj wasted no time to fire back at the Rock legend, calling his comments racist.

“I understand you really wanted to keep your job but take that up with the producers,” she wrote. “I haven’t done anything to you. That’s a racist comment. You assume that I wouldn’t have liked Bob Dylan??? why? black? rapper? what? go f*** yourself and worry about yourself babe.”

For his part, Tyler attempted to discard the idea that race was a motivating factor.

“Maybe I spoke out of turn,” he said, “but a racist I’m not, Nicki.”

Nicki has yet to respond to his apology. —Erik Parker, CBS Local


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