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Story and Photos By Andy ArgyrakisBetween his time on tour opening up for Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas, Jason Derulo attracted tens of thousands (if not millions) of fans, all of which helped his self-titled Warner Brothers debut to spawn a trio of singles. But with only nine tunes to his name, graduating to the headlining circuit seemed a bit premature, despite a gallant effort at a packed House of Blues in Chicago, backed by a full band, a pair of background singers and four dancers.
Much of the appeal behind Derulo are his insanely catchy beats that cross Justin Timerlake with Usher, plus plenty of Prince and Michael Jackson's fingerprints. In fact, the 21-year-old looked like the latter artist circa 1984's Victory tour right down to the retro apparel, mannerisms, tossing a fedora into the crowd and covering "Billie Jean" (albeit with overly breathy vocals, but at least he moonwalked well)
. Aside from being a little too derivative at times, there was no ignoring Derulo's personal connectivity on originals like the rippling R&B romp "Whatcha Say," the bubblegum beat blaster "Love Hangover" and the soulful ballad "What If." However, given his limited repertoire, he was forced to perform two smash hits twice, at first in re-arranged formats, followed a little later in the mere hour with the familiar takes.
The acoustic version of "Ridin' Solo" and the rock n' roll rendition of "In My Head" paled in comparison to the club-charged regular editions, which closed out the night to slick chorography strewn across the double decker stage and hundreds of fans' flashbulbs. Though it was glaringly apparent that Derulo simply doesn't have enough material to fully command an evening, he does display fairly competent vocal talent, even slicker dance steps and the ability to write a pop ditty that's sure to stick in your head.
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