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

Becky Bain | February 13, 2012 1:14 pm

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.

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.”

Pop 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.