Nicki Minaj’s “Roman Holiday” Grammy Performance: Review Revue

When Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon received the Grammy for Best New Artist, we personally felt a touch of sympathy for Nicki Minaj, who we believed deserved the award. And then we saw the trainwreck that was “Roman Holiday”, and we breathed a sigh of relief that the Best New Artist honor wasn’t bestowed on the artist responsible for the night’s least entertaining, most mind-numbing performance. We named the number the #1 Worst Grammy Moment from the whole show, likening it to “watching a low-budget spin-off of The Exorcist turned into an off-off Broadway musical that’s cancelled after opening night.” And we weren’t the only ones feeling let down. See all the clever ways critics knocked Nicki’s Grammy performance in our Review Revue.

nicki minaj roman holiday grammys 2012

HitFix wins for the funniest negative soundbite: “It was a theatrical interpretation of hell, though viewers were indiscriminately and unknowingly cast there within the first few notes.” They go on, pointing out the horror of the song itself: “Until there is a fully edited music video to accompany this song, it will be forever burned into memory as a vortex of blistering shame and confusion.”

Neon Limelight tries to give the rapper some credit: “Nicki gets a high mark for her effort but it all came across as comical instead of artistic.”

Vulture states that Nicki Minaj somehow managed to out-Gaga’d Gaga, but notes that “unfortunately, Minaj wasn’t singing a song nearly as catchy as any of Gaga’s.”

Prophet Blog enjoyed the production of Nicki’s number, but (to lift a phrase from Madonna), the whole thing felt “reductive”, and that Ms. Germanotta is infinitely more talented than Harajuku Barbie. “Lady GaGa can sing. Lady GaGa can dance. Lady GaGa can perform. Lady GaGa can play an instrument. Nicki Minaj can’t do anything. She’s a rapper who can barely even rap outside of the studio. Without the wigs and the costumes and publicity stunts, Nicki is nothing.”

68425916Pop Dust also keeps the Gaga references going: “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.”

EW Music Mix held no punches: “In short, it was a mess, featuring a whole lot of religious imagery, a smattering of pyro, and no real messages to be found.”

Pop Crush could have been more cruel in their review: “Overall, Minaj performance was, uh, weird to say the least. All of those religious imagery and tomfoolery just didn’t excite us. It certainly wasn’t the most memorable performance of the night.”

And Celebuzz asked their readers to react to Nicki’s performance, with the overwhelming opinion being that they pretty much hated it, too. Writes one commenter, “It was horrible…. terrible song and choreography… everything went terribly wrong… Sorry nikki but this was bad, really bad.”

What did you think of Nicki’s performance? And what about “Roman Holiday” as a song? Sound off below, or on Facebook and Twitter.

  • MusicManDave

    What was she trying to do here? Can anyone tell me? The song wasn’t bad but the performance was Hatias. Lady Gaga could have done a better job. No girl

    • Brax Ivey

      To understand the performance you need to know the charectors.
      Roman: Roman is a gay boy born out of anger her is the one that raps the song.
      Martha: She’s the british woman. She is Romans mother and is also a very conventional social norm kind of woman.
      Martha was trying to exersice Roman’s homosexuality and Roman was all like “No Bitch”

  • Bobby

    Pure, unadulterated, crap.

  • L!@M

    Can I just say, I really enjoyed Minaj’s performance? AND I’m a Little Monster! I loved the catchy single, “Roman Holiday” and this performance, while so weird, was eye-catching. I love her character Roman and I can not WAIT for, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” after seeing her Grammy performance. I guess that’s just me – but I thought she slayed the Grammy’s.

  • thankgoditsover

    aweful, creepy,HORRIBLE choreography and just, ugh, weird. she couldve just a really cool ‘super bass’ or something, but no, she came up with this crap , HATED IT. her voice wasnt that good either and half the time she wasn’t even singing. sorry nicki, shoulda just stuck to your own songs.



  • Jonathan

    I thought so too, I enjoyed her performance, and I thought it was catchy , I loved it

  • Cathryn

    I honestly was glad when it was over. It was a pure wast of my time and energy. I have bad enough ear problems without her adding to the mixture. She should have stuck to something a little less risque. As my mother said ” I’d rather watch Madonna in a half wedding dress gyrating across the stage singing ‘ Like a Virgin’ than listen to the horror.” The Grammy’s would have been a great show…. If not for her. So yes I thank her for ruining the show for me. At least we had Sir Paul McCartney to bring everyone back to a normal state of mind afterwards and attempt to make the mush people called brains after her performance normal again with good music.

  • Joshua Smith

    lawd! it wasnt even horrible. it was a good performance of an okay song, it wasnt great but to think it undermines her ability as an artist so much as to revoke her grammy nominated status is ridiculous. people need to calm down. also whats with the lady gaga references? whenever SHE does anything religious i thought everyone called madonna? why is gaga now the inspiration for such performances? i dont think so

  • James Ngai

    I’m little monster and it’s not only Gaga can be theatrical. Why people can’t stop making comparison between Gaga and her, their songs don’t even in the same genre, can’t understand people hate Nicki so much, perhaps she shouldn’t sing superbass ’cause those new fans which superbass brings don’t understand what she always want to do.

  • A

    The song was about a gay boy whos family wouldnt accept his sexual orentation so they wanted to exsorcice him and he pleads his mom that nothing is wrong with him, all in all in the end the gay kid commits suicide.
    The performance and song were a masterpiece, I just think people have to be open minded and intelligent to see so.

  • glitter&grease

    I AM A HUGE LITTLE MONSTER but I absolutely loved this song… she is amazing!!!

  • David Clark

    Its gotten so bad that Nicki has to make social networking accounts to complement herself and make it look like she has fans.

  • yeah…

    I am a huge Nicki Minaj fan and I love the character of Roman. And I thought this performance was absolutely amazing. But the thing is, if you aren’t a huge Nicki Minaj fan and you don’t really know the story behind Roman and Martha, then this performance no doubt comes across as a huge, jumbled mess. I’m glad she did it, though. I was expecting her to do one of her more radio-friendly songs like “Super Bass” or “Turn Me On.” I think that the fact that she chose to do this song and this performance shows that she is loyal to her most loyal fans, the ones who have stuck with her since “Sucka Free” and didn’t just hop on board when “Super Bass” caught on. Well done, Nicki. Can’t wait for “Roman Reloaded!”

  • lol

    Stop making excuses for sucked and you know it.

  • Tracy

    I’m a fan and been with her since Itty Bitty Piggy, and the performance was funny but she could have done better. I don’t think the song was too bad though, maybe I have to hear the studio version, cuz she sounds terrible live.

  • Brian Chaput

    Let’s see – lenghty standing ovation for Adele after her stunning and classy performance and after NM’s rubbish they cut to commercial with no shot of the audience this mess finished. You be the judge.



  • Nigga who you talking too….

    Nigga who the F**k you think you are. She is the Baddest of them all. She only did it for entertainment. She believes in God. Besides, the Grammy people made her do it.

  • http://N/A JOhnnYBooy

    Thank you for saying that! I too enjoyed the performance. And because i know what it meant, i truly appreciated her artistic views on things. People should think about what things mean before judging them.

  • Sugargurl2000

    The performance of it kinda creeped me out. O.o
    But the song is catchy :D

  • J.W.

    Her level of creativity and skill are unparalleled, specifically in female hip hop. Even on a global scale, to be recognized & accepted for such versatility and talent being a young black woman, this bitch is doing her thing. She doesn’t fit inside a box, she is the box… To drop hits like “Super Bass” “5 Star Chick” & “Did it on’em” then venture off into tracks like “Roman Holiday” and it still be hot is completely unorthodox in hiphop/pop music. Not to mention her stellar performances. I loved it!

  • Duvlar

    Really J.W.?! You must have been dropped on your head continuously as a child.

    How can you describe her ‘level of creativity’ when she does not even write her own songs?! Nicki Minaj is fake in all that she does; her persona, her singing, her music, her boobs and her butt. I feel a little bit ashamed humanity is meant to be evolving but then we have so many people admiring such trash.

    Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) wrote his album in a woodland in Wisconsin with no electricity or human contact. He has infinitely more talent than Minaj but more importantly he encompasses what music is ultimately about; it is an art form and a mode of emotive expression. How is Nicki Minaj singing about a ‘stupid ho’ expression??