After years of lab testing, Jessie J has shown that creating a pop persona by cherrypicking from proven commercial styles, including R’n’B, hip-hop, soul and bleeding heart balladry, can pay dividends on both sides of the Atlantic, her debut album Who You Are having resonated with teen and pre-teen girls everywhere.
Jessie J - Edinburgh Castle Esplanade
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Who she is, however, remains a little confused, though she presented a strong enough image with her cropped lilac hair and bold prints, and worked the stage confidently and relentlessly.
The opening medley of busy urban pop numbers – Price Tag, Who’s Laughing Now? and Rainbow – was an exhausting barrage of cliched, positive messages and sassy attitude.
Not impressed by her energy, or the no-nonsense momentum of the show so far? Then let her charm you with her I’m-just-like-you-guys schtick. And if that doesn’t work, allow her to beat you into submission with her showy lungpower.
Her work was apparently not done unless she could add a couple of melismatic runs and over-embroidered ad libs to every track. Such intrinsic lack of subtlety was more naturally suited to a medley of Eighties soul covers (Luther, Mariah et al) and her attempt at a Whitney Houston-style ballad, Casualty Of Love. Her trio of backing singers showed how this should be done while she nipped off stage for a costume change.
But none of this mattered a jot to the kids of all ages in the crowd who lapped up the positive reinforcement of Nobody’s Perfect and the overwrought Who You Are, sang along shrilly to generic rave pop song Laserlight and threw themselves into the impromptu rap battle during Wild. Jessie J may be a mess of styles but she knows how to host a party.