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  • Rapper Nicki Minaj has dropped a new single, “Starships,” while she is still fresh in the minds of viewers who watched her Grammy Awards Show performance over the weekend.

    In the last act of the night, before Paul McCartney’s finale, Minaj dredged up alter-ego Roman Zolanski to stage a heavily religious themed “exorcism.” She sang “Roman’s Revenge” and “Roman Holiday.”

    She levitated, spoke in tongues and jumped and shimmied against a fiery backdrop, while surrounded by back-up dancers dressed in priestly robes. In a foreshadowing of her act, she showed up on the red carpet wearing a scarlet-colored, hooded robe accompanied by a man dressed like the Pope.

    On stage, she was strapped to a leather lab table, and while she rapped a church choir sang religious holiday song, “Come All Ye Faithful.” At the climax of the number she rose over the stage, while flames roared up. Needless to say, Catholics and religious groups were not amused.

    She debuted “Starships,” on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show today (Feb. 14). Produced by RedOne, it marks a distinct shift by the rapper into pop music territory. The dance beat is heavy throughout. The synths and chorus are mixed with a sample of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” thrown in for good measure.

    Mixing religion with pop music isn’t new. In fact it’s pretty stale by now. Madonna pioneered it and Lady Gaga copied it. Maybe Minaj hopes her performance will cement her in the same league. Check out the tune below: