The shocking death of pop star Whitney Houston built a massive audience for the Grammy Awards telecast Sunday night on CBS. It attracted 39.9 million viewers, making it the most watched non-sports program of the season.
The show began with a heartfelt prayer for Houston to "Our Heavenly Father" from the master of ceremonies, CBS actor LL Cool J. But sadly (and predictably), near the show's end, religion was mocked in an elaborate Catholic-bashing mess, starring the rapper Nicki Minaj. Someone on Twitter said it best: "Stevie Wonder was the luckiest man in the crowd" during the performance.
It registered on the religious bigotry meter. But on the stupidity meter, it was off the charts. It began with Minaj in a mock confessional, next to a man playing a priest. As she deliberately sang off-key, the priest began mouthing, "stop" and then squinted and covered his ears. He was channeling the feeling of the viewers at home. This was awful. Dumb. Boring. Meaningless. Embarrassing.
And perfect by the standards of CBS. For some reason, entertainer types think it's hilarious to air a skit mocking a confessional (as Alec Baldwin did on "30 Rock" a few years ago). The sacrament of confession is dearly held by Catholics as a means of seeking absolution and leading a less sinful life. But this confessional skit is trying to go there; it never arrives. It never really offends. It's just too idiotic. Only the audience should be offended. Here's where the "entertainment" wheels come off. Follow me, if you can.
The title "The Exorcism of Roman" comes on screen. Viewers are treated to a film harkening back to the opening scenes of "The Exorcist" with the distraught mother welcoming the priest into her home. This priest is there to exorcise a male child, "Roman." But who is in the bed? An adult and very female Minaj. He walks into her room and says, "Hello, my child," to which adult Minaj hisses and levitates into a corner of the ceiling. "You don't belong here," she says in a demonic drone. He asks, "What's your name?" She screams, "Roman!"
Her "song" is titled "Roman Holiday," and she's playing a character she claims is "her gay twin sister and a lunatic, born of rage." I'm sorry, but I have to say it: If you were still watching at this point and didn't change the channel in disgust, you too are a fool.