After a tumultuous weekend sparring with enemies (both real and perceived) over her the sales numbers for Queen, Nicki Minaj reclaimed her throne in an epic Video Music Awards performance — except no one knew where the stage was.
After a long tease that Minaj would be performing from an undisclosed location in New York City, the rapper beamed into the awards show from the Oculus, the futuristic mall beneath One World Trade Center. The space was well-appointed and visually striking (one imagines that other artists will be requesting it as a venue for years to come).
Minaj appeared in gold, backed by gold-clad dancers, in front of an imposing golden throne. She performed a quick-moving medley of songs, all from Queen.
It began with a brisk performance of “Majesty,” forgoing the Eminem verse in favor of moving on to “Barbie Dreams,” the song filled with a series of (good-natured) shots heard round the world when she released it on Queen’s release day just over a week ago. She then rounded out the performance with an a capella verse from album opener Ganja Burns, before closing with her 6ix9ine collaboration — and current Number 5 on the Hot 100 — “FEFE.”
The performance was aided in no small part by a feverish contingent of Barbz — Minaj’s preferred term for her extraordinarily dedicated fanbase — a sharp contrast from the relatively staid (and celebrity-filled) televised audience in Radio City Music Hall.