I have one basic rule that I apply to each of my reviews on this site: no swearing. There are two reasons for that: 1) I want anyone to be able to read this, young or old, without fear of F-bombs flying all over the place, and 2) If you can’t make your point without swearing, you need a better vocabulary.
…and now that that’s out of the way, I have no idea how I’m going to make it through this review without some sort of a “HOLY ***ING #$*#@(*&.” Because Nicki Minaj’s “performance” at the Grammy Awards last night was that bad. I wanted to simultaneously throw my remote control, my new laptop, the coffee table, the piano, an unopened pack of pencils, half of a window pane, the tree in my front yard, the mail that hadn’t even arrived from tomorrow, my sister, my bed, my backyard fence that doesn’t exist anymore and myself at the television.
Where to begin? Well, after watching the Grammys for the first time, I once again realized the power of actual music in the music industry. Does that sound like the dumbest thing in the world on the surface? Yes. But then you realize someone like Katy Perry, who can’t sing live, has ruled the charts for the better part of four years, and you realize that maybe this industry is about more than the whole “singing and playing instruments” thing. Let’s examine the best performances of the night…
– Adele. She stood still on the stage, backed by a few female vocals and some instruments. And she CRUSHED it. I could listen to that woman sing for hours without getting bored.
– Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney Houston. Nobody else on stage, piano in the background. Didn’t try to over-sing the song, did it her own way. Memorable without being a mimic. Beautiful.
– Paul McCartney. Who cares how old he is? Sitting in the middle of a group of violinists, singing a new song (“My Valentine”) that proves he hasn’t lost it…and then rocking out with an epic jam band (Grohl! Springsteen! Walsh!) to “The End” to cap the night.
What did these performances have in common? There was music, and…that’s just about it. No over-the-top theatrics. No absurd costumes. Just a voice and some sort of instrumentation, and they stole the show. Maybe Ms. Minaj isn’t comfortable she can do that. Maybe she felt she needed an infusion of over-the-top nonsense to mask her defects. Whatever the case, this was one of the most hideous things I’ve ever seen on a television screen. The people that write Adam Sandler movies were even awed by its stupidity.
To recap, for those of you that haven’t seen it and don’t care to watch the video above (which you probably shouldn’t…), Nicki started her performance while sitting in the center of the audience with a man dressed as a priest. (At this point, I imagine Pope Benedict’s cell phone going off, with a frantic cardinal on the other end trying to explain to Pope Benedict who “Nicki Minaj” is.) So we’ve already started offending people. Then Nicki started doing the “I’m a total scary freak and you should be afraid of me” Nicki Minaj voice, not to be confused with the “omg I’m so cute Nicki Minaj” voice, the “i’mtalkingreallyfastandyouprobablyhavenoideawhati’msayingBOOMBADOOMBOOM” Nicki Minaj voice, and the “attempting to be a singer and failing” Nicki Minaj voice.
After about 20 seconds of rapping or something while this poor scared man in a priest uniform questioned the sanity of his life, we cut to…a short film? What? It’s called “The Exorcism of Roman”, and an old woman informs us that “he’s upstairs…he’s sick.” I still haven’t figured out who the “he” is, since we all see is Nicki Minaj. Unless this is her way of telling us…oh, never mind.
And then we’re back live (unless you’re in L.A., where it wasn’t live, because the Grammys MAKE SENSE) and Nicki Minaj is now chained to a giant throne. Hmm. Are we supposed to…watch…this throne? (I hope not.)
And then men in hoods, which looks like a horribly tasteless thing that I won’t even say, start dancing around. The entire thing looks like a secret Illuminati meeting. Is this a teaser trailer for The Lost Symbol? Here, Nicki alternates between “scary”, “cute”, and “BOOMBADOOMBOOMsuperfast” voices. Oh, yeah, and she’s also only singing about half of this.
By the way, this seems like a good time to point out that this came AFTER the Whitney Houston tribute.
And then more rapping! And suggestive dancing! And Nicki self-censoring about 25 words in the song! And then a hooded choir starts singing “O Come All Ye Faithful”, a priest comes out trailed by altar boys, and Nicki Minaj starts to levitate while continuing to rap.
Guess which part of that I made up? None of it. SERIOUSLY. NONE OF IT. THIS HAPPENED. As a practicing Catholic who goes to church every week, it was an impressive job of being about as offensive as anything in the history of the world has ever been. Satan himself was probably overwhelmed at the amount of horribly offensive things in the performance.
On second thought…wait a minute. Maybe…just maybe…Nicki Minaj is Satan????