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Nicki Minaj Says Next Album is the “Most Important Thing in My Life Right Now”

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Nicki Minaj says she made a calculated decision by not returning as a judge on American Idol so that she’d have more time to provide her fans with a new album, which is expected to arrive early next year.

The rapper explained to E! Online why she has no regrets leaving the show after one season. “It was such a great experience. I would not trade it for the world,” she said. “But my heart is in my music and I had to step back and go have different experiences so that I could write my third album… That’s the most important thing in my life right now.”

After recently being photographed in the studio with Mike WiLL Made It and Miley Cyrus, Nicki cleared up speculation about a collaboration. “I didn’t make any music with Miley,” she clarified. “There was a song that was a possibility but it didn’t work out.”

While there is no confirmed release date for the follow-up to last year’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, fans can catch Nicki on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this Friday where she will promote her new fragrance, Minajesty.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio