Boy, we’ve already come a long way from “Super Bass,” huh? Onwards and upwards for Nicki Minaj, who decided to use tonight’s ceremonies to debut new song “Roman Holiday,” from that upcoming album of hers where she half-heartedly pretends to be a dude with a British accent or something. Good of her to use the platform for a push forward rather than a victory lap, but the resulting performance—while undoubtedly ambitious—was a little messy, confusing and ultimately not all that enjoyable.
The whole thing started with Nicki rapping the opening of “Roman’s Revenge” with her priest dude again in tow, before delving into a few bars of “I Feel Pretty.” Then, some pre-recorded footage of Nicki-as-Regan/Roman in an Exorcist-like scene (no head spinning though, for some reason), then she’s up on a rack with her hands in shackles, then she’s kneeling down at a confessional with lots of Opus Dei types dancing around her, then there’s a creepy choir singing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” then she’s levitating off the ground last the fifth member of the coven from The Craft. Follow all that? Us neither.
The song itself was underwhelming, probably the closest in spirit to the original “Roman’s Revenge” of the Roman Reloaded songs released thusfar, a relatively hookless banger with Nicki declaring herself “the ultimate svengali” and proclaiming “This is World War Six!” (did she cover Three through Five in “Check It Out”?) and a chastising-mother chorus (“Take your medication Roman / Take a short vacation Roman”) that doesn’t really go anywhere. There was a decent energy to the whole thing, and the levitating thing was a nice climax, but ultimately, it was a little weird for weird’s sake. Not everyone has to be Gaga and Kanye, guys.