“This might be an antiquated term, but I want to raise the roof with you!” shouted the Maine’s John O’Callaghan. It was probably the only antique thing about day two of the Billboard Hot 100 Fest, which brought the poppiest of pop to Jones Beach on Sunday. With headliners like Nicki Minaj, Skrillex, and Justin Bieber stealing young hearts at dusk, the squeals were louder than the bass from morning on.
While bouncing around the three stages, few could resist sneaking over to the Maine’s show for some guilty pleasure pop punk. The crush-worthy boys threw themselves (and their hair) into hits like “Miles Away,” “Run,” “Growing Up,” “My Hair,” “English Girls,” and “Misery.” There’s nothing more enticing than seeing a band have fun onstage, and that’s never a problem with the Maine. “The people are dancing, the bands are playing…the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!” said O’Callaghan with a grin.
Nicki Minaj soon commanded the mainstage and secured her place as a sex symbol, getting straight up steamy with her dancers on hits like “Super Bass,” “Starships,” and “Anaconda.” Spicing it up with some outfit changes, lace quickly made way for skin as she showed off her huge…assets. But if you know Nicki, you know she’s more than her silhouette. She made it a point to steer all the girls from being “lazy ass bitches” – the one thing she really hates. “Go to school, get a job, have a career, and don’t ever depend on a man for nothing,” she said proudly. “A man is only there for one thing, and one thing only. To be there when you need him – if you need him.”
At that point, there was one man these girls definitely needed. But you can’t have Bieber until you’ve partied with Skrillex. Within a rush of emoji-filled, bad trip, space alien graphics, Skrillex took every hit to its inevitable drop and sent thousands surging out of their seats to dance.
If you didn’t know who was taking the stage, the screams would have been a bit horrific. But Justin Bieber kept it casual, remarking how it’s the first time he’s played a show in a while and he just wants to chill and talk. The 13-year-old chants of “Take it off! Take it off!” suggested a different plan, but Bieber remained almost comically relaxed. “I’ve been tryna get good on a skateboard,” he said, showing off a few tricks out of nowhere.
If you want the Biebs, the sass is just part of the deal. “Do you guys wanna hear some new music?” he asked, sending the crowd into a weeping frenzy. “Well too bad, cause I’m playing some old ones.” Even with the trolling, none of the girls seemed disappointed with “Boyfriend,” “Beauty and a Beast,” and “As Long As You Love Me.”
But the highlight was his startlingly existential question, “Are you guys watching the show, or are you just watching it through your cameras?” Leave it to Justin Bieber to finish off the fest with deep thoughts.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Kayla Klein + Olivia Isenhart