nicki minaj

*Love her or hate her as an “American Idol” judge – and there seems to be no in-between – Nicki Minaj appears to have an open invitation to return next year, despite all of her drama.

Asked whether the rapper/singer was welcome back for another round, “Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe — addressing a TMZ videographer on his way into a Malibu restaurant over the weekend — declared: “By me, she certainly will be!”

In her first run as panelist on the Fox competition alongside fellow rookies Mariah Carey and Keith Urban, Minaj has polarized viewers with her brutally honest feedback.

Meanwhile, Lythgoe also said he was mulling whether to offer Justin Bieber a mentoring gig on the show. “I’m just trying to figure out what he’d mentor,” he told TMZ of the 19-year-old pop star, recently in the headlines for allegedly spitting on his neighbor during a spat.

While “Idol” has been slipping in the ratings, a Bieber cameo “certainly would” help in that department, Lythgoe conceded.