(Not) Live Last Night: Rihanna
Leave it to the always-bumbling Recording Industry Association of America to mess things up. To quote the internets, last night's RIAA/Feeding America Ball at Ibiza can be described thusly: EPIC FAIL.
It shouldn't have been that way. With the official balls requiring a certain amount of pomp and circumstance, the unofficial RIAA bash could have been the perfect antidote. I talked to a few people over the weekend who had been at the Association's Kanye West-headlined party at the Democratic Convention over the summer and they all said it was fantastic. So why would this party, featuring a performance by 20-year-old superstar-of-the-moment Rihanna, be any different? Don't know. Just was.
It didn't help that it took place at Ibiza, which is not centrally located compared to the rest of the party spots. It's not centrally located to anything, really. Once there, it was a whole lot of waiting in the bitter cold to get into a club that was crowded, but certainly not at capacity. Maybe it wasn't as bad as the line at the Youth Ball, but there were lots of cold, frustrated, well-dressed people lining 1st Avenue NE. The complimentary hot chocolate and Bailey's when we finally got in was a nice touch, I'll give credit for that.
Once inside the club's main room, it was like a time warp back to 2005. "Where my ladies at?!" the DJ yelled. A few screams went up, I prepared myself for "Single Ladies" and then ... Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl"? Huh? That was quickly followed by Kelis's "Milkshake" and Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack." The RIAA, always relevant.
Soon, some industry types came out and awkwardly mentioned the celebs in the building. "T.I. is in the house!" Imagine your nerdy uncle saying that, that's how it sounded. Apparently Jay-Z, Beyonce, Shakira were there, too, but were sequestered in one of the club's VIP rooms, of course. Mayor Fenty was out in public and got himself a nice balcony spot for Rihanna's performance. Err, "performance." We'll get there in a second.
The celebrity hosts for the evening were Courtney Cox Arquette and her husband, former WCW champion David Arquette, who are spokespeople for Feeding America, the charity that the event was benefiting. Cox introduced a video; Arquette held index cards very close to his face and read them verbatim except when he went off-script and said that President Obama's election was "a lot of guilt off our shoulders" for white people. Uh, good one?
Then it was time for Rihanna. Just as quickly it was time to leave. The Barbados native was her usual intimidatingly beautiful self in a sparkling silver dress and some equally flashy hoop earrings. She and a four-piece band and pair of backup singers fumbled their way through "Disturbia" -- it sure seemed like there was a lot of lip-synching and a recorded track. Then there was a five-minute break. Then, an equally awkward version of "Rehab" and half a cover of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." Then another stage exit. And no return. "We are experiencing power problems and are unable to continue. Rihanna would like to apologize." What's stopping her?
Fifteen minutes later , some crew members started breaking down the equipment on stage, the DJ fired up some tunes from when people still actually bought albums, and I left.
Thanks for a great evening, RIAA.
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