Jason Derülo – review

Academy, Leeds

"You're the one for me," sings Jason Derülo, into the eyes of a girl hauled from the audience on to the stage. They embrace so passionately that a passing observer might think they were newly married. Devotion to duty like this – and the heavily Autotuned, Imogen Heap-sampling, 12m-selling single Whatcha Say – has made the 21-year-old one of America's biggest stars. The protege of classically trained uber-producer JR Rotem – who claims to have located the precise notes to make the masses happy – the all-singing and dancing Derülo seems laboratory-calculated to keep teenage girls screaming.

His Bo' Selecta! beard, Hollywood dentistry and high voice, assisted by tight trousers, make the geekily good-looking Miamian a composite of obvious but effective pop cliches. Derülo oozes "sincerity", slides down banisters, does the splits and sings Michael Jackson's Billie Jean while doing the moonwalk. For Blind – pop's 564th song about being blinded by love – he dons a blindfold.

Sex, of course, is never far away, with a cover of Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back, lingerie-clad dancers writhing in front of mirrors and Derülo's torn-off vest hurled into the crowd. No crotch is left untouched, and when the grinning frontman mimes the act of opening a curtain during a lyric about the same, he is almost certainly not thinking of his Auntie Elda's drapes.

The music seems secondary to the show, but Ridin' Solo and In My Head offer infuriatingly catchy, electronic R&B pop. It's all brutally cynical, but very enjoyable, and as the crowd cry "Jason! Jason!" and make heart shapes with their hands, the singer unveils his pièce de résistance, and dances on his toes.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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