We knew this was coming… Nicki Minaj isn’t too popular with the Catholic League after her over the top exorcism themed performance of “Roman Holiday” at the Grammy Awards Sunday:
Nicki Minaj’s extended Grammy performance, which was seen by nearly 40 million viewers, had a dancing priest, a faux exorcism, an a female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy prayed between her legs.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue told the Daily News the performance was the equivalent of “sticking the middle finger right in the faces of Catholics.”
The performance included Minaj praying, dancing, and ended with her levitating.
“Whether Minaj is possessed is surely an open question, but what is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of the Recording Academy. Never would they allow an artist to insult Judaism or Islam,” Donohue said in a statement put out earlier in the day.
Donohue told The News the Recording Academy, which oversees the Grammy Awards, should have known better.
“They should have asked her to reconsider this because it’s going to be unnecessarily offensive,” Donohue said. “If they were attacking gays, I would be my bottom dollars they wouldn’t allow it.”
The Recording Academy producer, Ken Ehrlich told Gayle King on CBS This Morning, that he “definitely had some questions about it” but considered it a free speech issue.
“We don’t like to restrict artists creative freedom,” said Ehrlich. “She came to us with that idea. I looked at it and said ‘Okay’ I knew about her alter-ego, I was aware of what that was.”
Minaj contradicted the producer in a later interview with Ryan Seacrest.
“The Grammys chose ‘Roman Holiday.’ The producers of the Grammys came into the studio, and they heard ‘Roman Holiday’ and I could not play them another record after they heard that. I could have chosen to do a no-brainer pop song, but I can’t do it anymore. I have to stay true to what I’m doing,” she said on Seacrest’s show.
Minaj, it should be noted, walked the red carpet on Grammy night in a red cape and hood, along with a man dressed like a pope.
The artist called and told Seacrest they called the performance a success. She said it was based on a running storyline she’s had with one of her alter egos, and that fans would get it.
“It’s funny because it was the most comfortable I’ve been in my entire life,” she told Seacrest.
Minaj’s performance was criticized by viewers using social media as not being good.
Indeed, on Monday’s “CBS This Morning,” co-host Gayle King told show producer Ken Ehrlich she completely missed the point of Minaj’s segment.
Donohue said he didn’t see the performance live, but got to the office early Monday to emails and calls from folks upset.
“They can’t even pull off the Grammys without sticking it to Catholics,” Donohue said. “You do feel like you’re under siege.”
Gotta give Nicki some credit for thinking out the box and going hard, but this was pretty much a fail at the end of the day.
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