LOS ANGELES — Nicki Minaj is so popular right now she can shut down the scene anywhere she goes. On Saturday (September 11), her fans who happened to be downtown got a big surprise as Nick rehearsed her VMA pre-show performance, practicing "Your Love" and her brand-new single with will.i.am, "Check It Out."
Although Nicki's performance was outside, fans, members of her entourage, various MTV crewmembers and anyone sitting in one of the J.W. Marriott hotel's lounges could see Nick go to work.
"Get it! Get it!" veteran choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson — who MTV viewers will remember from Diddy's "Making the Band" — yelled after every Minaj "ow ow!" at the beginning of "Check It Out." "Get it, girl!" Gibson encouraged again.
Two female dancers started in front of the crowd and grooved to "Your Love," then there was a reveal of the Young Money queen, who stood with her head down and arms folded. Wearing a pink tank top, black leather jacket and black leggings, Minaj moved forward and danced in sync with her backup ladies.
Expect plenty of movement and plenty of energy come Sunday night. Nicki — who's known for her lyrical acumen and facial expressions (she made those faces in rehearsal too!), but not for dancing — can hold down some steps. "Amaaaazing," Gibson yelled at the end of another run-through.
There were a few mechanical problems with a key piece of equipment for the stage that's also an integral part of Nick's reveal. However, the crew seemed to have the matter under control toward the end of rehearsal.
During her last practice round, Nicki and her dancers switched up the entire beginning of the show. Instead of just playing "Your Love," Nicki went right into "Check It Out." There was also smoke that time and more applause from Nick's biggest cheerleader on Saturday, Laurie Ann.
After the rehearsal, Nicki walked through the lobby taking pictures and even giving a couple of hugs to fans. "Oh my God. She is so real!" one lady said after taking a pic with Nicki.
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. The party starts with MTV News' VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET/PT.