With the stupid video finally, mercifully over, Minaj's act was live on stage again. She was shackled high on the stage in front of a wall of stained-glass windows. Beneath her were dancers dressed in monk's robes doing the latest hip-hop moves. The lyrics aren't anti-religious, just nonsensical: "I'm a lunatic and this can't be cured with no elixir," and "Quack quack to a duck and a chicken too/ And put the hyena in a weekend zoo."
And still people kept watching? (Bizarrely, Minaj was nominated for "Best New Artist." She didn't win.)
Next came what the Catholic League found most offensive. While two young men dressed as altar boys kneel in prayer, female dancers bend backward over the kneelers. They hold onto the altar boys' praying hands with their crotches just inches from their faces.
Near the end of this debacle, a choir sings a minor-key variant of "O Come All Ye Faithful." As they sing, our priest from the confessional returns in his vestments. Using some theatrical stage moves, he tries to exorcise Minaj as she lies on a table below him. But Minaj levitates, and the priest collapses on a kneeler. He's not dead, just defeated.
Grammy show producer Ken Ehrlich insisted the next morning none of this was his idea, but he didn't stop it because "we don't like to restrict artists' creative freedom" -- as if that "freedom" would extend to mocking other religions.
Minaj defended herself on the Ryan Seacrest radio show. "I had this vision for him to be sort of exorcised -- or actually he never gets exorcised -- but people around him tell him he's not good enough because he's not normal; he's not blending in with the average Joe. ... Not only is he amazing and he's sure of himself and confident, but he's never gonna change; he's never gonna be exorcised."
Remember that "he" is a she. ... Oh, never mind.
The choreographer of this garbage is Laurie Ann Gibson, better known for her last job, staging outrages for Lady Gaga. Bizarrely, Gibson claimed it wasn't offensive: "OK, no crosses ... when creating choreography, the instinct thing is to go to a prayer and I was like, 'No praying hands!'" She claimed the theme was all about "the innocence and the purity of just being bold, about the fight and no fear. ...There wasn't anything negative there."
Like, how cool is that and stuff?