Bieber upstaged by Jay Park

Justin Bieber was an unlikely opening act at MTV World Stage Live In Malaysia 2012 on Saturday evening.

But the 18-year-old Canadian pop star, who would have been a natural headliner and thus closer for the 31/2-hour concert in Kuala Lumpur, came on stage while the sun was still shining at Sunway Lagoon's Surf Beach.

He took the earlier 6.30pm slot so that he could catch a flight to Melbourne later.

Despite Bieber's early departure, the other stars, notably Malaysia's Mizz Nina, K-pop star Jay Park and K-pop girl group Kara, hyped the crowd late into the night.

The show will be aired on MTV SEA (StarHub Ch 533) on July 28 at 1.30pm.

Bieber was right on time for the 16,000 fans who thronged MTV World Stage Live, bounding on stage and opening with his hit song, Baby.

His new signature quiff didn't make it to the stage - and probably wouldn't have lasted in the heat.

With the temperature hovering at 30 deg C, the sweaty heart-throb looked red-faced as he danced through songs from his new album Believe, like All Around The World and As Long As You Love Me.

In between songs, his on-stage DJ, Tay James, played a remix of Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe, who, incidentally, was discovered by Bieber.

Bieber then slowed things down with an acoustic set of new songs, Die In Your Arms and Be Alright, as well as an old favourite, One Time.

"When I was younger, I never thought I'd be on a stage like this, but you should never say never," he told the audience, before launching into the track he collaborated on with American actor Jaden Smith for the 2010 film, The Karate Kid.

The somewhat underwhelming and brief 40-minute set ended with Bieber's first single off Believe, Boyfriend.

Still, the occasion proved too much for a few teenage girls, who fainted on seeing their idol in the flesh, and had to be taken out on stretchers.

Kara, back at full strength with Han Seung Yeon fully recovered from the illness that made her miss the group's showcase in Singapore last week, were up next and raced through their hits like Honey and Mister.

The adorable quintet - aged between 18 and 24 - were decked out in sparkly tops and short shorts and were perfectly in step, opening their set with a group of 10 dancers to their single, Step.

Though they charmed the audience with their cute hip swivels, their performance during their first live show in Malaysia lacked the lustre of other K-pop girl groups, like Girls' Generation and Wonder Girls.

Got crowd moving

It was the second half of the night that really got the crowd - comprising mostly Malaysians - moving.

They cheered excitedly for homegrown pop act Mizz Nina as she upped the ante with the heavy beats of her opening song, Just Do It, from her recently-released second solo album, Take Over.

When she went into her hits Take Over, a song she collaborated on with American rapper Flo Rida, and What You Waiting For, the crowd went wild.

The month-long rehearsals and planning that went into what she called her biggest show yet clearly paid off, with fancy footwork and background visuals accompanying her dance-heavy set.

Decked in a spangly top and tight leather pants, Mizz Nina, 32, had all the makings of a new Janet Jackson.

But it was the night's final act, Jay Park, who proved to be a fitting show-closer.

"I'm the last act on stage so I'm gonna give you all I got," he said.

The 25-year-old US-born singer kicked off his high-energy set with AOM and 1llionaire, then launched into a freestyle rap, promising to make "this stage hotter than Malaysia".

Park, a former member of K-pop boy band 2PM, showed why he keeps getting invited back to concerts in the region.

He flashed his abs and swivelled his hips endlessly - to screams from the fangirls - but cheekily acknowledged the guys in the audience who might have been feeling left out.

"I see the fellas getting worried," he said.

He peppered his set with his own hits like Girlfriend - which he performed in English for the first time - as well as covers like a Korean version of B.O.B's Nothing On You.

In a nod to fellow MTV World Stage act Bieber, he sang a few lines of Boyfriend.

"I like that song, that's a great song," he said.

While the ever-humble hunk said he was honoured to share the stage with the likes of Bieber, he had no qualms in upstaging the international star at the end of the night with breakdance moves during an instrumental dance break to Far East Movement and Tyga's hit, Dirty Bass.

Malaysian fan Amri Ikhlas, 19, said he was there to watch Bieber, but went home a Park fan.

"I wasn't a fan before, but I really respect him now. He was a very good closing act," said the teenager


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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