How hot is Iggy Azalea? So hot that Jennifer Lopez invited Azalea to join her for the super-sexy video "Booty." So hot that Azalea is featured on hits by T.I. and Ariana Grande. So hot that Azalea has received more American Music Awards nominations (six) than anyone else. So hot that she became the first artist since the Beatles to have her first two singles land at No. 1 and 2 in the same week on Billboard's chart.
Apparently, the only thing that could cool off Azalea is performing outdoors in windy 50-degree weather Friday night at the University of Minnesota homecoming concert at TCF Bank Stadium. In front of an eager-to-dance, sold-out crowd of 10,000, she gave one of the most bloodless, soulless and emotionless hip-hop performances by a bona fide headliner.
Following brief sets by pop quartet Walk the Moon (imagine Duran Duran meets U2) and DJ Mad Mardigan (whose hypeman led chants of I-g-g-y-e-s-o-t-a), Azalea hit the stage with all the expressionless enthusiasm of a runway model. Tall, blonde and bootylicious, she didn't dance but merely moved to the beats. There was no conviction in her vocal delivery even on the opening "Bleep Love" during which her two backup singers kept flipping the bird whenever they sang the refrain.
The two singers provided palpable passion throughout the show. The four dancers certainly had more agility than Azalea but their largely uncomplicated, unathletic choreography wouldn't be useful in an audition tape to perform with J. Lo or Beyoncé. The only time the dancers showed their full abilities was during "Fancy," Azalea's biggest hit and the night's finale.
Azalea has certainly caused controversy during her rise to stardom this year. Born 24 years ago as Amethyst Kelly in Sydney, Australia, she moved to Miami at age 16, became a protégé of Atlanta hip-hop star T.I. and landed modeling gigs before soaring to the top of the charts this spring. The knock on Azalea is that she raps with a heavy U.S. Southern drawl and, in essence, practices cultural appropriation.
Frankly, the Southern accent was not especially apparent on Friday. There was no attitude in her delivery (though she showed fast flow a few times) and no swagger in her moves (unless you consider prancing up and down a staircase and occasionally shaking your booty to be alluring). Never has a sex symbol seemed so unsexy in person.
Her performances didn't have the punch and panache of her records or the style and sizzle of her videos. The unsmiling, hair-tossing Azalea was so low-effort that if she had worked it like that in a Bikram yoga studio (temperature 105 degrees) she probably wouldn't have broken a sweat.
"Don't Need Y'all" and "Change Your Life" were lifeless. The best part of "Pu$$y"was the clip from the 1992 movie "Boomerang" featuring Eddie Murphy and Grace Jones that set it up. Mashing up Jay Z's "99 Problems" with her own "Problem" compensated for the absence of Grande, who actually sings "Problem." "Black Widow," Azalea's current hit, has irresistibly slinky beats but made it clear that she's one of the least physical hip-hop performers to hit it big.
Azalea breezed through 16 numbers in a mere 50 minutes. But the audience didn't ask for an encore because rarely has someone so hot cooled off so fast.