Nicki Minaj feels she owes it to the 'American Idol' contestants to be honest.

While the singer has been blasted for her harsh comments to the hopefuls in the talent show, she insists she is so brutal because she cares for them.

Nicki told The Hollywood Reporter: ''I know that sometimes when I speak in a really blunt way like I do, people take that as me not loving and caring about these people. But I really do, I feel like they're family to me. But I feel like I'm not doing them a service if I blow smoke up their ass, and I just refuse to do that.''

However, it does upset Nicki when some of the contestants are eliminated and she couldn't hold back the tears when Burnell Taylor recently left the competition.

She said: ''I mean, when I see someone come from nothing, and their family just lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, and they had to rebuild ... I remember my own childhood, and I remember how many children are out there suffering now ... Burnell, not only did he have such a beautiful story, but he had such a unique voice and unique spirit. So yeah, those tears were real for Burnell.''