Ke$ha has been reduced to opening for Pitbull. I thought the unlikely duo had teamed up for a joint-tour, but there stood Lady Dolla in the fading Los Angeles sunlight of June 18, enthusiastically belting out her high-energy party anthems while disinterested concertgoers slowly filled the Hollywood Bowl. Meanwhile, Mr. Worldwide came out to a jam-packed stadium and shared the stage with the likes of Chris Brown and Jennifer Lopez. He even got a pricey fireworks display. What is going on?
The urine-drinking diva’s plight is sad and unnecessary. K$ is a fantastic pop star. She writes her own (extremely catchy) songs, pushes genre boundaries like no other mainstream pop starlet and remains completely authentic. There’s nothing fake or forced about Ke$ha. But Harold’s ex sure does make some bad decisions. Like choosing overly safe singles and then ruining the edgy ones with terrible remixes. It’s a shame because Warrior is a brilliant album, as she reminded the smattering of attentive Animals in the crowd with a great set.
Lady Dolla live is a warped mix of Madonna and recent collaborator Iggy Pop. She does her best with choreography and costume changes but the My Beautiful Crazy Life star is most at home when she’s rocking out with her band or playing the guitar. After opening the show with “Warrior”, Ke$ha upped the intensity with current single “Crazy Kids” and modern classic “We R Who We R”. Her live vocals were on point and she looked fit and fabulous in a Wonder Woman-on-acid outfit.
“C’Mon”, while not the smartest single choice, is still a great pop song and sounds even better when beefed up with guitars and drums. Better yet was Warrior reject “Machine Gun Love”, which K$ told the crowd really should have been on the album. I can’t help but agree. She then introduced “Blah Blah Blah” by posing the thoughtful question — “Who wants to talk when you can bone?” Again, the philosophical giant has a point. I love the way she interacts with fans, casually sharing anecdotes about her no-good ex-boyfriends and drug experiences.
Even the Pitbull fans stood for “Tik Tok”, which Ke$ha performed with drag queens and dancers in animal suits. Not exactly what you would call pandering to the masses. The still flawless “Your Love Is My Drug” came next, while she closed the show with the towering greatness of “Die Young”. Even if the 26-year-old hangs up her microphone tomorrow, she can lay claim to creating one of the best pop songs of the decade. The crazily catchy anthem earned her a standing ovation — proof that people still love and appreciate K$ when they’re exposed to her greatness.
The next time I see Ke$ha I hope she’s headlining a huge festival or exploring the boundaries of cock-pop in an intimate rock venue. Either end of the spectrum would be a delight. She’s too talented and unique to be the opening act for a man who writes lyrics like “I’m saying dale, she’s screaming YOLO” and “Jenny from the block, let’s rock.”