The stars came out last weekend and no, we’re not talking about the ones high up in the night sky.
This year’s summer anthem Want To Want Me hitmaker Jason Derulo and one of pop music’s “it girls” Carly Rae Jepsen, along with Japanese band Sekai No Owari and South Korean girl group Apink lit up the stage at Sunway Lagoon in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
The MTV World Stage, now in its seventh year, returned to Malaysia with a bang after last year’s depleted line-up which saw the last-minute cancellation of headliner Jennifer Hudson due to scheduling conflict.
This year, the concert kicked off with local powerhouse vocalist Stacy. The former Akademi Fantasia winner, who was joined by local rapper Altimet, shone when she showed off her strong vocals at the chorus of her current single Not For Sale.
Unfortunately, her lower notes during the song’s verses were drowned out by the music.
Sekai No Owari took the stage next with a delicious rebellious number, Anti-Hero, that got the crowd dancing. The celebratory Dragon Night was just the perfect tune to groove to on a Saturday evening as we let our hair down after a long, hard week.
In the midst of these high-energy numbers, the band quieted down a little for the inspirational ballad, SOS, and delivered a stirring performance.
Of course, Sekai No Owari is more than just a band, it’s a creative group. Vocalist Fukase literally made a fashion statement, donning a collar choker that read “fear” and an oversized furry coat.
I’ve never been a fan of K-pop groups but watching Apink perform live, I finally understood the appeal.
Seeing the six beautiful ladies sashay in and out of formation as they sang the infectious NoNoNo and Luv immediately set hearts aflutter.
How the girls managed to sing and dance with such poise and grace, keeping their smiles wide and their hair miraculously bouncy, under the sweltering heat we’d never know.
“Jangan lupa kami,” said band member Kim Nam-joo before launching into its final number Remember, a performance the audience wouldn’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Carly Rae Jepsen also kept things light and breezy. The crowd went wild when the Canadian pop star stepped onto the stage in a dreamy, cotton candy blue number, opening her set with Run Away With Me.
Jepsen served up one sickly-sweet pop song after another from both her international debut album Kiss and her latest release Emotion. She turned in I Really Like You, Your Type, Tonight I’m Getting Over You, and of course, her megahit Call Me Maybe, twirling about and playing with her dress coyly every now and then.
Earlier in the day, Jepsen was asked during a press conference if the success of Call Me Maybe, which drew listeners from all ages, including kids, prevented her from exploring darker, more adult themes in her new album.
“In all honesty, those were the things that I toyed with a lot before I dove into the writing of Emotion. Kiss has a lightness to it and with Call Me Maybe being so big, it was a gift but also a challenge to know what to write next,” the 29-year-old singer responded.
“That’s why it took me so long, over two and a half years and over 200 songs, before landing on somewhere that felt right for me. Emotion is darker and older in a lot of ways and musically, it’s everything that I wanted.”
Speaking of exploring darker themes, R&B singer Jason Derulo came out of a high-profile break-up last year with former American Idol champ Jordin Sparks.
Asked if he would continue to bring his personal life into his music (case in point, the romantic tune Marry Me which he penned for Sparks), Derulo swivelled his chair around bashfully, his back facing the roomful of reporters momentarily. He answered: “I don’t really have a choice. It’s not like I decide ‘Am I gonna say this, or am I not gonna say this?’
“When I go in the (recording) booth, I really have to write about what I’m going through and what I’m dealing with in my life, so it’s not an option for me. Reality has to come up every single time. It’s always how I’ve written. I will continue to write about my life because I have to.”
The 25-year-old singer may not have gotten down on one knee for Sparks but he did when he serenaded the audience with the tender ballad.
In fact, that’s not all he did. For a full hour, Derulo gave such an energetic set which saw him performing various impressive dance moves (including a split which got the crowd roaring) – all that while hitting the notes on The Other Side, In My Head, Whatcha Say, Cheyenne and Want To Want Me.
Even I felt tired for the So You Think You Can Dance judge whose white tee was soaked in sweat no matter how many time he went backstage to change.
All that sweat was worth it though, as this instalment of the MTV World Stage garnered almost 20,000 excited fans.
As Jepsen would say, they must have really, really, really, really, really, really liked the show.
MTV World Stage Malaysia 2015 will be shown on the MTV Asia channel on Sept 26 (Astro Ch 713, 3.30pm).