Nicki Minaj may come off the Grammy Awards 2012 with more buzz than ever (thanks to the elaborate/bizarre spectacle of “Roman Holiday”), but she’s still not quite done with that Super Bowl halftime performance. The colorfully coiffed singer told Ryan Seacrest this morning that she felt “disappointment” over M.I.A.’s unexpected middle finger, which prompted an NBC apology. “I’m a cuckoo lady too, but I would never be able to do it, off the strength of Madonna. There are fines that go into these things, and I just thought, ‘Oh my God. I hope they don’t penalize Madonna.’” (Honey, it’s not like Madge couldn’t afford it). Nicki explains the risks involved below.
Minaj, who cheered on Madonna in the Megaforce-directed “Give Me All Your Luvin’” video before performing the song live at the Super Bowl, walked Seacrest through the range of reactions she felt:
“My first feeling was disappointment, only because of my respect for Madonna. I’m a cuckoo lady too, but I would never be able to do it off the strength of Madonna. There are fines that go into these things, and I just thought, ‘Oh my God. I hope they don’t penalize Madonna.’ Madonna knows the artist that M.I.A. is and it was her decision to take the risk with all of us. We were kinda all firecrackers and she took that risk. She’s done some crazy things becoming the icon that she is, so I think that’s why she was able to forgive M.I.A. I love M.I.A. and I don’t want to say anything that is the wrong thing, but me personally, I couldn’t see myself doing it, just for the respect for Madonna. I wouldn’t want any backlash to come back on Madonna.”
To be sure, Madonna has plenty of other things to worry about.
But the controversy that (at least briefly) marred the performance must have come as a particular letdown after all the work the three pop artists put into the production. As Nicki explained it to Seacrest, working up close with the MDNA queen was an intense experience.
“Meeting Madonna changed my life. Working with Madonna changed my life. Rehearsing with Madonna for two weeks changed my life. When you look at these amazing women, you have to realize that a lot of work goes into this. I, for the first time, refused to go to any parties. This performance was it and this is the first performance that I’m proud of in my entire career. I saw how much Madonna sacrificed and how much she rehearses and rehearses and rehearses and rehearses, and everyone there was like, ‘We got it.’ But she was like, ‘No, I want you to know this choreography in your sleep.’ We did know it in our sleep by the time we got on the Super Bowl stage. But when I saw that, it inspired me so much, the same way Wayne inspired me to start really becoming a beast as a rapper. The Madonna situation inspired me to give it my all and put that work in.”
Hear the entire Seacrest interview below: