Nicki Minaj‘s Grammys performance, entitled “The Exorcism Of Roman” was a treat for the senses — from a sumptuous set, decadent choreography, a vivid, if not chaotic plot, and Nicki actually singing (a singer singing, can you imagine!), the whole shebang was nothing less than a show stopper. The performance began with Nicki in a confessional booth, the priest she walked the red carpet with listening to her candid rap from his side of the booth, both of them appearing to lose more and more of their minds as Nicki writhed manically and pulled several of her patented insane faces. The back story, from what a pre-recorded clip then told us, appeared to be that Nicki was possessed by the spirit of her alter ego, Roman Zolanski, and a priest was sent to exorcise her.
Once the video cut back to the stage, Nicki appeared shackled at the top of a pyre in some sort of cathedral that toed a line between Catholic and cult that might have been somewhat uncomfortable for any zealots watching (although we’re pretty sure the Grammys is mostly for heathens anyway). In this Roman Catholic Church meets Illuminati-esque environment, the story hit a glitch and became somewhat stunted in development — basically, Nicki was at war with Roman, and her internal monologue, the song, flipped between the two personas in an insane battle for the body. While a tormented Nicki staggered around the stage, weird contortionists and occultist dancers put on a pretty impressive show of physical agility in the Laurieann Gibson choreographed extravaganza (that’s probably why you have a lingering taste of Gaga).
The use of religious iconography in pop music isn’t new or revolutionary — it has a long, controversial history and has played out almost to the point of tired. We think Nicki had fun with it though, taking something quite political to the brink of insanity and giving it a tongue-in-cheek edge that made us question how seriously we should really be taking things — isn’t pop music just meant to be a bit of fun, after all? And after Chris Brown was allowed onto the stage earlier in the night, we’re pretty convinced that Nicki’s performance doesn’t quite hit the high bar set for controversial. Although we can see how the performance might have been confusing, or even alienating to some simply because it was so frenetic and disjointed — what did you think? Love it, hate it or just plain dumbfounded? Let us know in our poll below!
[Photo: Getty Images]