Many (make that most) people were baffled by Nicki Minaj’s sudden shift in stage style during last night's Grammy Awards. After walking the carpet wearing a red satin hooded gown with a companion dressed in a Halloween pope costume, she sang "Roman Holiday" in a performance that featured confessions, an exorcism, holy water, levitation and a lot of choirboys and girls.
Catholic League president Bill Donahue commented today in a piece entitled "Is Nicki Minaj Possessed?": "Perhaps the most vulgar part was the sexual statement that showed a scantily clad female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy knelt between her legs in prayer."
Well, it fell to Ryan Seacrest to get Minaj to explain herself on his KIIS FM radio show this morning, and, apparently, it’s all Madonna’s fault. First, Seacrest asked about her red satin robe and the fake pope.
Minaj revealed, “I wasn’t gonna do the red carpet, but my people said ... I had this amazing robe made for me by Versace and sent from Milan. They were so generous and they sent me so much stuff. I thought, I have to wear it. Only one way to do it and that’s the red carpet.”
It turns out Minaj was playing the part of a guy named Roman in a story she has been writing for two years. “He’s a major part of the movie I’m writing, one of my alter egos,” Minaj told Seacrest. “His name is Roman, and the religious figure is there because he was called on by Roman’s mom to rehabilitate him.”
More about this Roman alter ego: “I had this vision for Roman, for him to be exorcised, but people around him telling him he’s not good enough, that he’s not normal, he’s not fitting in with the average Joe. He wanted to show that not only is he amazing and confident but he’s never going to be exorcised. And when they throw the holy water on him, he rises above it."
Will all her performances be like this from now on? “That was a moment, and that is not going to be a never-ending saga,” Minaj assured Ryan. “Roman is one facet of my brand. The next performance will not be a 'Roman Holiday' performance, but it will be something like that.”
So why this sudden change in style? "Working with Madonna [at the Super Bowl] changed my life," Minaj confessed. “You look at this amazing woman, and you realize that a lot of work goes into this. This is the first performance I am proud of in my entire career. When I saw [what perfectionist Madonna goes through], it inspired me so much."
Madonna caused yet another change in the rapper. "She was the first person in history to make me change the color of my wig for the Super Bowl. I went through four color changes with my wig. When I got to platinum, she smiled and I thought, ‘Thank you, Jesus.' She also got me to wear red lipstick and now I love it."
So now you know. Tell us: What did you think of Minaj's "Roman Holiday" Grammy performance?