The Queens-bred star, famous for her wild and outlandish outfits and impossibly curvy figure, met with Cowell in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. A source told us, "Simon thinks Nicki is fantastic. She's sassy, she looks great and she has bags of personality.
"Nicki has a large following and she fits well with the ethos of the show, which plans to usher in a new generation of musical talent. 'X Factor' is aiming for a younger audience. Those aged 12 and over can audition, and [the English version has] launched successful artists from other genres of music than pop.
Former Island Def Jam Music Group chairman L.A. Reid -- who launched major acts including Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, the Killers, Bon Jovi, Pink, Usher, Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna -- was last night confirmed as one of the stars on the much-speculated-about judging panel.
Other names being considered to join Cowell on the panel include Tommy Mottola, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and British pop star Cheryl Cole. Sources said Cowell is still deciding on the right mix of judges, and Minaj, who's now touring with Lil Wayne, could be a good complement to the more experienced Reid and Mottola.
Auditions for the show, which starts on Fox in the fall, will begin on March 27 in LA. Solo artists age 12 and over and vocal groups will battle for a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music. A rep for Cowell and "The X Factor" wouldn't comment on Minaj, saying it was "early speculation." Minaj's reps didn't get back to us.