The Worst And Weirdest Grammy Performances Of All Time
Nicki Minaj levitates during 2012 Grammy performance. (Getty)
With the 55th Grammy Awards upon us, it feels fitting to not only review some of the highlight performances of years past, but some of the low moments as well, and there are plenty. We revisit Nicki Minaj’s televised exorcism, Bob Dylan’s unplanned background dancer, Milli Vanilli’s ultimate lip-synch and more.
Nicki Minaj “Roman Holiday” (2012) - When Nicki Minaj arrived to last year’s Grammy awards in a red cape and escorted by a man dressed like the pope, viewers were put on notice that new American Idol judge had something unusual planned for her Grammy performance. There would be no singing and rapping of her mega pop hit “Super Bass.” Instead, Minaj staged an exorcism to the musical backdrop of her song “Roman Holiday.” Her show included a skit modeled after a scene from The Exorcist, a Catholic confession session gone awry, background dancers dressed as monks and levitation. The elaborate production left the audience in shock, and media reports called the set Satanic. Minaj later dismissed the criticism, describing the routine as an excerpt from a movie script she had written.
Bob Dylan and Michael Portnoy “Love Sick” (1998) - Years before Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s Video Music Awards acceptance speech, a man with the words Soy Bomb painted on his chest stormed Bob Dylan’s performance of “Love Sick” at the 1998 Grammys. The consummate showman, a visibly concerned Dylan continued to play and sing as the uninvited guest, who is an actual legitimate performance artist named Michael Portnoy, offered his eerie unsolicited dance moves. It took event security a long 40 seconds to contain Soy Bomb and remove him from the stage. It seems unfair to include a sabotaged show on a list of the Worst and Weirdest Grammy Performances, but this one was too creepy to ignore.
All-Star Beatles Tribute “Across The Universe” (2006) - This star-studded live cover of The Beatles “Across The Universe” had the potential to be as impactful as other teaming’s of its caliber – USA For Africa’s “We Are The World” and Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” But unfortunately, something went terribly wrong. The lineup included Slash, Bono, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Brian Wilson, Alicia Keys, Scott Weiland, Billie Joe, Tim McGraw, Steven Tyler, Allison Kraus (violin), Dave Kushner (guitar), Matt Sorum (drums), and Duff McKagen (bass). Based on the outcome – a series of way too lackadaisical vocal deliveries that failed to blend well together or even stay in tune – caused an unpleasant listening experience. Maybe more rehearsals, if any, next time?