Jason Derulo's Rodeo Debut Is a Delight

Jason DeRulo
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
NRG Stadium
March 4, 2016

Forty-five minutes into his set at RodeoHouston Friday night, Jason Derulo decided it was time to stir up the crowd of nearly 60,000 screaming fans in attendance.

Halfway through "It Girl," the second single from 2011's Future History, he jumped from the stage into the dirt and began walking toward the barriers.

"All these beautiful ladies up in here," Derulo said, striding slowly in no particular direction, "and I was wondering if my 'It Girl' might be in Houston tonight."

Thunderous applause and shrill cheering followed, but Derulo didn't stop there. He walked half the length of the stadium before inviting a young woman out of the crowd into the gravel with him, where he sat her down and serenaded her before lifting her to her feet for a brief dance.

The young woman in question stole a few kisses to the cheek as Derulo sang, following each with an incredulous glance toward her friends in their seats. Unfortunately for her, it wasn't until after she returned to her seat that the singer took his shirt off, further lifting the crowd’s spirits and pitch.

Derulo's set list was peppered with hits from all four of his studio albums, reaching back to 2008's breakout single "Whatcha Say" all the way to "Want You to Want Me" and "Get Ugly" off last year's Everything is 4.

"Whatcha Say" remains one of Derulo's best songs, both for its anthemic feel and for the way his voice sounds juxtaposed with Imogen Heap's Auto-tuned choruses. But Derulo made time for both the older hits and his newer singles, which have become favorites of the club scene.

He even set aside five minutes to showcase his six backup dancers, who strutted their stuff as Drake's "Jumpman" blared through the overhead speakers. After all, a Jason Derulo concert is as much about dancing as it is about music.

Instead of leaving the stage in the back of a pickup truck, waving to the crowd — as is tradition — Derulo ended his set by hopping off the stage and onto a horse, where he remained shirtless and donned a black cowboy hat as he rode through the gates backstage.

And that's how Jason Derulo, the newcomer, conducted his first visit to RodeoHouston. With a style all his own. 

Get Ugly
Marry Me
Whatcha Say
Ridin' Solo
In My Head
It Girl
Don't Wanna' Go Home
The Other Side
Talk Dirty
Want to Want Me
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever