BEST: Nicki Minaj Dominates
Nicki Minaj's opening performance was like a mini-concert that embodied her maddening contradictions. She appeared regally in an ornamented, dominatrix-like outfit for "No Frauds," then paraded amidst a regiment of dancers as David Guetta pretended to DJ on "Light Me Up." She observed coolly from a sideline as underrated pop hitmaker Jason DeRulo attempted to wring magic out of "Swalla"; then she sang the treacly ballad "Regret in Your Tears" while a waterfall gushed behind her. Plus, there were gas masks and Lil Wayne in a fur coat. At nearly 10 minutes, the entire set had operatic peaks and decadent valleys that confirmed Nicki as a dominant rap performer of her era.