Were you watching the Oscars last night? Don't worry, neither was anyone supposedly watching the Oscars last night. (More on that later. Like, 30 minutes or so after this post.) There were alternatives, both small--I've heard five separate stories about "wait, this is Oscar night? But I already had plans!" one of which was mine--and large, like the annual NBA All-Star Game. And if you needed an alternative to that, a couple artists too the stage.

First: Nicki Minaj, who at this point can basically tailor a two-song appearance to any imaginable audience even just using Roman Reloaded tracks. Will she go hip-hop? Go hip-hop with fewer bleeps required? Go straight pop? She chose the last here, with her two poppiest songs to date: "Starships" and "Super Bass." (We know she did a third poppy song. We're selectively forgetting things.)

Some notes: Nicki Minaj's cumulative style is starting to resemble a Crayola box--and the hugely stocked kind you always wished your parents would get you, not the teensy 8-crayon packs. But--and dear lord, click this link, because the camp inside deserves to be known the world over--doesn't it remind you a tad of Hot Gossip? The costumes? The theme? Maybe?

There was also a Pitbull performance, because there is never not a Pitbull performance. It had the characteristics of every Pitbull performance ever. Ne-Yo showed up, Nayer showed up, "Give Me Everything" and "Rain Over Me" and "International Love" showed up. And yeah, the latter means that Chris Brown showed up. That's newsworthy lately, right? Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your Chris Brown stance, essentially everything he did was subsumed into the Pitbullishness (totally a word) here.

And because this is a sporting event, someone sang the National Anthem. This time, it was Mary J. Blige. 75% good; 25% casualty of the high key. John Stafford Smith: doing more damage in the States than any U.S./Britain war ever did.